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Grants News – Solartwin products eligible for solar grants for retail now – and community projects from July 09

Filed under: Latest News

Solar Twin Ltd have confrmed that the Solartwin zero carbon solar water heating technology is eligible for UK grants under the Low Carbon Buildings Programme (LCBP phases 1 AND 2).

Whether or not you can get a grant depends on who you are and what type of solar plumbing is fitted. (The amount of grant available can also depend on where you live.) Solartwin use two types of plumbing. At present one is grant eligible and the other is not.

Answering the what question, Solar Twin Ltd install solar water heating systems in two ways:

  • Retrofit solar water heating installations . Here the existing hot water cylinders is used. This usually costs £3-4K per installation. Unfortunately this innovative type of installation is not yet grant eligible. The reason is that only the commonest or typical types of solar installations are allowed to gain grants because of the blatantly self-serving way that the UK solar industry is permitted by government to self-regulate.
  • Thermal stores as a Legionella safe way of storing solar heat. This usually costs costs £4-5K per solar installation. Thermal stores are used in most new build installations. Since thermal stores are sometimes used by our competitors, they are already grant eligible.

Answering the who question, Solar Twin Ltd install both of these solar water heating systems to four main client groups: DIY kit customers, Homeowners, Commercial customers and community customers. As for the national grants eligibility picture, here is a summary for each type of customer.

  1. DIY kits customers. Sadly, there are no government incentives to buy or install DIY kits. Even VAT is imposed as a disincentive by government at the full rate of 15%. (On solar installations it is 5%). Do please lobby your MP for change here! Nevertheless, self-instalilng solar water heating systems can still be the most cost efficient way for some people to proceed.
  2. Homeowners. Here Solartwin’s good value retrofit installations are being blocked by solar industry manoevering. The problem is that as with the banks and MP’s expenses, the solar water heating industry is self regulating and so market abuse is rife. For example the dominant players in the industry dominate and manipulate the rules setting processes and thereby marginalise superior innovations such as ours for as long as possible. We have raised this blocking matter repeatedly with a series of relevant ministers (including Lord Truscott!). We (a) only offer thanks as a reward for change and (b) we do not pay fees to consultants who may also be paid fees by regulators for writing regulatory documents.   Because of our non-incentivised approach to seeking change and the inertia that indusry self regulation delivers, we have not (yet) managed to get grants for Solartwin retrofit installations. But LCBP phase 1 grants are available for homeowners who want thermal store installations. To know more please call us now on 0344 567 9032 now.
  3. Commercial (non-community) customers. Few incentives are available yet, apart from some local schemes.
  4. Community customers such as socal housing and charities. From 1 July 09, installing the Solartwin product into thermal stores will be grant eligible under LCBP phase 2. This is a great improvement on the tropoly which existed before, which we understand has been the cause of European competition notifications. To know more about community grants please call us now on 0344 567 9032and ask for Graham or Dave. Or visit solartwinprojects.com for case studies.


Inn summary, here is the Solartwin take on how the £45 million of additional funding announced in the Budget will be allocated.

LCBP Phase One (domestic renewables including solar thermal) will receive an additional £10 million. This sees the current programme extended from July 2010 to April 2011.

LCBP Phase Two (community groups charitable organisations, and the public sector – funding for renewables including including solar thermal) will receive an additional £35 million. This extends the programme from 1 July 2009 to April 2011. However £5 million of this has already been allocated to solar PV funding to deal with PV applications in the pipeline.

From 1 July 2009 the overpriced solar thermal triopoly under phase two will end. Instead the programme will be open to all products and installer companies registered on the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). In terms of the products, this includes Solar Keymark for solar thermal technology. The Solartwin colector has Solar Keymark.

Organisations may apply for up to 50% of the cost of installing approved technologies up to a maximum of £200,000 (though maximum grant levels may depend on the nature of the organisation).

DECC will be providing detailed information on transitional arrangements. Here is their formal announcement on the LCBP website.   http://www.lowcarbonbuildingsphase2.org.uk/page.jsp?id=33

That’s the UK position – continuity of grants – and wider eligibility for Solartwin. In the Republic of Ireland, Solartwin remains fully eligible for grants with no silly contraints. Hoping this briefing is useful.

Regards, Barry Johnston.


Written and published by -
Genfit - 0344 567 9032

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