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Solar Panels

Solar Power:

The generation of energy from solar panels is becoming increasingly mainstream. You can expect a fairly lengthy payback period on your investment but you can at least gain a return on putting electricity back into the national grid.
There are two types of solar panel in general use -photovoltaic cells generate electricity, and solar thermal panels will give hot water. Photovoltaics now also come as PV 'Sunslates' which are best suited for use in conservation areas. At present the payback on installations is in the region of thirty years but this may well change with energy price rises and falling cost of installations. You might expect around 100W/m2 depending on angle and orientation of the panels.
Installations can be free standing, fully integrated with the roof or mounted on top of an existing roof surface.
The Government provides support for the use of renewable technologies through the Low Carbon Buildings Programme which provide grants for microgeneration technologies to householders, community organisations, schools, the public and not for profit sector and private businesses.

Here Comes The Sun
You could be using solar power to turn your home into a clean, lean and green powerhouse.
Oliver Heath from ITV's Dream Homes shows you how to get started.
The number of people choosing to install solar panels in their homes is increasing. Solar thermal collectors heat your water, photovoltaic panels take care of your other electrical needs, and they're easy to install and unobtrusive. Producing 100% clean energy, the solar power is controlled and distributed around your home as easily as it would be with a standard electricity meter. Going solar reduces energy bills, insulates against future increases in costs by the power companies and can increase the value of your home in the future.
In this first of a series of videos produced by npower, Oliver Heath, presenter of ITV's Dream Homes takes you on a tour of UK homes that have already have microgeneration technology installed -find out in detail how it works, and how it could benefit both you and the environment
  • BP Solar -offers a complete, installed solar home energy system designed to work seamlessly with your utility power supply.
  • Becsolar -Photovoltaic power solutions in association with BP Solar.
  • British Photovoltaic Association -information on photovoltaic power and solar electricity.
  • Energy Development Co-operative -URL :
    Established in Lowestoft, Suffolk in1997, EDC is a workers co-operative specialising in the design & supply of off-grid solar & wind power systems. They offer free system design and technical support and can supply systems across Europe.
  • EvoEnergy -established in Nottingham in 2007, EvoEnergy design and install Solar PV and Solar Thermal systems for domestic, commercial and public sector clients.
  • Heat My Home -solar power installers based in Cheshire -the website includes a couple of useful pdf guides to solar inmstallation (look for 'downloads').
  • Imagination Solar -solar energy to provide hot water and generate electricity.
  • Newform Energy -suppliers of a range of renewable energy systems including biomass, heat recovery ventilation, photovoltaics, solar thermal and wind. They are also developing a solar / hydrogen system for domestic and light commercial applications.
  • Powertech Solar -integrated solar energy systems including the Apricus solar hot water system (solar thermal collector) and Powertech multi fuel thermal store.
  • PV Systems -one of Europe's leading building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) companies with over 400 solar electric systems already designed and installed in domestic homes, offices and public buildings across the UK and Europe.
  • Scolar Programme for Photovoltaics -initiated as a response to the Government's Foresight Challenge to develop photovoltaic (PV) technology and to raise awareness of PV in schools and other educational establishments, both through demonstration systems and the provision of educational material.
  • SEPCO -UK provider of solar-powered lighting systems.
  • Solarbuzz -solar power portal with a wealth of information.
  • SolarCentury -solar PV solutions business who design, install and maintain tailor-made solar PV systems for businesses, homes, industry and the public sector.
  • Solar Energy Society -a non-profit organisation that acts as a forum for all those interested in the advancement of the utilisation of the sun's energy.
  • Solar Fusion -a government accredited company, based in Dorset, specialising in the supply and installation of solar hot water and solar electricity systems.
  • Solar House -self catering solar house in Dublin
  • Solar Plaza -information about photovoltaic products, PV companies, and PV subsidy programs.
  • Solarsense -established in 1994 to specialise in solar heating systems, Solarsense has installed systems at sites ranging from the Iona Community in Scotland and Sidcot Quaker School, Somerset. More recently they have been involved in a large installation for Michael Eavis, the organiser of the Glastonbury Festival.
  • Solar Trade Organisation -trade organisation for companies with interests in the solar energy industry.
  • SolarTwin -solar panel water heating systems -available in kit form for domestic use -they do a useful pdf guide to best practice as well.
  • SolarVenti -UK distributors of Scandinavian developed Solar Air Collectors that provide three functions -fresh air ventilation, a powerful dehumidifying effect, and supplementary space heating.
  • Wholesale Heating -website site featuring thousands of plumbing and heating products, including components for solar and renewable power presented by Corgi Registered, BPEC approved solar engineers.

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Tesco Home Efficiency
Solar hot water from Tesco Home Efficiency

Featured books:

Solar Energy Pocket Reference (Pocket Reference S.) Christopher L. Martin, D. Yogi Goswami
Earthscan Publications Ltd
Paperback - Aug 2005
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The Passive Solar House (Real Goods Independent Living Books)
by James Kachadorian
Chelsea Green Pub Co
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