The solar PV system on the roof of the SEAM Centre was installed and commissioned on 19th January 2012 by Scottish Gas.  The daily data logging using a SunnyBeam bluetooth connected logging device was only configured last August, but a read of the meter on 13th February 2013 showed a total generation of 902.2kWh. 

This is obviously for just over a year's generation, although the weather in February has not led to any great generation days, so this figure can reasonably be taken as an annual amount.  The system is a 1.15kWp 5 panel set-up, so the standard SAP calculation would predict an annual generation figure of 987kWh/year.  However, this would be for a 30 degree roof pitch, in the middle of England.  We have a 20 degree roof pitch in northern Scotland so the discrepancy is to be expected. 

But the Microgeneration Certification Scheme has recently released new installer standards for solar PV, and this includes datasets for 1 degree variations in pitch, regional differences in solar irradiance, as well as much more detail about assessing shading.  These are the standards installers will need to follow from now on, and it will be interesting to see if the calculations produce a closer figure to what the SEAM Centre system has produced in a year.  The new standards can be found here.
Posted: 15/02/2013 by Peter Dennis | with 0 comments

There’s a lot of information starting to be released about the Green Deal and it’s raising many questions about the qualifications needed to be a Green Deal advisor.  Training providers have hesitated in developing and offering courses while watching out for what the demand might be.  They’ve also been awaiting the release of National Occupational Standards and the syllabus for the Green Deal advisor awards.

So what is going to be the skills and training required for someone to be a domestic Green Deal advisor?  It is probably a more complex role than many people have expected, and will require a significant commitment of time to complete the required training.  A Green Deal Advisor will need to be able to go into someone’s home and make an assessment of the building fabric, heating systems and the occupier’s approach to energy use.  They will also have to understand the benefits of over 40 different energy saving or energy generation measures, and know where they can be installed and where it would be appropriate to do so.  The Green Deal Advisor will also need to understand the finance mechanisms that support the Green Deal and be able to explain these to the occupier.  And on top of this is the ability to use the relevant energy assessment software packages and keep on top of the paperwork and administration when making many site visits and reports.
Firstly, the Green Deal advisor training will be built on the back of the Domestic Energy Assessor award.  So if you are not a qualified DEA, this will be the first thing you’ll be required to complete.  To progress on from DEA to a Green Deal Advisor, there will be an expectation of in the region of 200 hours of learning, much of this self-directed completion of theory assessments, but it will also include practical sessions making assessments on real properties.
The Energy Skills Partnership, a collaboration between some of Scotland’s Colleges, will be working on developing a Green Deal Assessor training course which it is anticipated will then be offered out through the partner colleges later this year.  Hopefully as the Green Deal receives further assistance and promotion from the UK Government there will be a growing demand for the services of Green Deal advisors and the aim is to have training courses in place to fulfil this need.
Posted: 09/08/2012 by Peter Dennis | with 0 comments

Yesterday evening's seminar by Catriona Ross was an excellent look at wood fuel installations in the Cairngorms National Park.  It raised some interesting discussion on wood fuel supply, moisture content and the performance variations of different wood types.  It's all really important when it comes to the overall performance of a biomass boiler of log burning stove and sharing the thoughts of those present was very useful.  I think that for the time being, anyone considering a biomass based heating solution needs to be aware that they need to take a large responsibility for the quality of the fuel they use, until they have developed a good relationship with a trusted supplier.  And there is an important role for training and informing people about the main aspects of woodfuel supply and storage.
Posted: 28/10/2010 by Peter Dennis | with 0 comments

The UK Government's spending review announcement has brought welcome clarification to the future of Feed In Tariffs (FITs) and the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).

The FIT scheme and the tariff rates will continue in their current form until the proposed review date of 2013.  However, if there is higher than anticipated demand, the Government has allowed themselves the option of making changes prior to this.  There is no indication as to what this demand would have to be, but the result is that installation sooner rather than later will be the best way to guarantee good FIT rates.  The DECC FIT information is here.

The RHI is expected to be implemented in June 2011, a little later than the original proposal of April.  There is also more detail to be announced regarding the tariffs and the technologies that well be supported.  This is good news for the small-scale renewable heat industry and should encourage more people to consider installations.  You can see the latest information from DECC here.
Posted: 22/10/2010 by Peter Dennis | with 0 comments

The blog entries on the SEAM Centre website are going to be used to provide general interest and background information on all aspects of micro-renewables and sustainable construction.  We will draw on the thoughts and experiences of a wide variety of people in the Highlands and Islands and further afield and get them to share their knowledge of specific subject areas.  Keep checking back to see the latest posts.
Posted: 06/09/2010 by Peter Dennis | with 0 comments