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Solartwin meet to discuss the retarded progress of British solar thermal innovation with Chester MP, Stephen Mosley.

Filed under: Latest News

Solar Innovation News UK. 1 June 2012.

How influential innovation stuffers stuff British solar innovation.

Solar innovator, Barry Johnston, Managing Director of Solar Twin Ltd met with fellow scientist and Chester MP, Stephen Mosley, today for half an hour to discuss the continued boycott of British solar thermal innovation.

A summary of the state of play is right now:

1. Retrofit. Several small UK companies make innovative “retrofit” solar water heating systems which do NOT usually need new replacement hot water cylinders. Solartwin is one of these retrofit solar companies. Not throwing away what is usually a good cylinder makes them more a competitive as well as more sustainable proposition. That’s the problem! The mainstream old solar industry, who have been sponsored by the (replacement) copper cylinder industry, and who include powerful multinational boiler companies, are trying to block our innovative retrofit solar water heating systems from getting recognition for state subsidy. So they have hijacked the majority of the voted Microgeration Certification Scheme MCS solar thermal “technical” (ie marker-making) committee, in order to exclude or marginalise retrofit solar and  have excluded me from being represented on this committee on grounds of “misconduct” because I publicly called for the resignation of its long-standing solar heating chairman, who has frustrated British solar thermal innovation for many years.

2 Legionella. One huge benefit is that this range on new retrofit solar water heating systems appear to be around ten times safer regarding Legionella, but at the expense of about 11% of energy performance, a tradeoff which we think is well worth making. Of course, the mainstream old solar industry disagree. They want to continue to impose increased Legionella risks on unsuspecting solar thermal consumers without even getting their consent, by arguing that energy performance is the end-all and that safety performance is subordinate to it. Also for massive liability reasons this old solar gang  also need to “retro-validate”, perhaps via some kind of formal standard that this practice is acceptable. So they have hijacked the BSI in order to deliver this via standard called draft BS 5918. I have publicly called for the resignation of its solar heating chairman, because he has frustrated British solar thermal innovation for many years. One candid to industry player told me that I am not allowed to sit on this committee because I am not wanted there.

3 Freeze tolerance. Water or antifreeze as a heat transfer fluid? Getting rid of antifreeze generally makes solar heating simpler and more reliable. One way to do this is to design solar installations to have freezeeable (freeze-tolerant) pipes. So we use freeze-tolerant silicone rubber pipes. They can expand about 100% before they break. Water expands only 4% on freezing, so there is no cracking problem at all when the water in our pipes freezes. They just freeze without cracking. Goodbye to costly, sticky, degradation-prone antifreeze chemicals. So in retaliation for us taking to water, he old guard at the BSI are proposing that all pipes in solar installation are “time served metallic” in their proposed market-rigging Standard.

4 PV pumping is demonstrably greener than mains pumping, typically saving 15-20% carbon clawback (ie creating unneccessary emissions at the electrical power station means negating emissions savings because of less water heating gas is burnt). but, inconveniently for the old guard, it is innovative and is not well suited to antifreeze-based systems. So as a clever fraud, and to disincentivise innovation the “industry led” Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme subsidises gross heat (heat only) energy instead of net energy) heat minus electrical input. This fraud (There is no other word: why on earth should the British taxpayer pay for non-existent energy benefits?) wastes public money and also reduces demand for PV pumped solar.

Here are four great technical innovations which the old solar thugs want to stifle. Not all solar heaters employ them all. Only Solartwin does because we have innovated the furthest. Of course, technological exclusion is not the only way to attack innovation. Routes to market and innovation are open to attack as well. Therefore our green approach of remote surveying and fair access to installer training are also under sustained attack.

We also discussed how much money has to change hands before you can gain a level regulatory playing field. More about the Solartwin Story is here.

That’s why we met Stephen Mosley MP today. Thank you, Stephen!

 

 

 

 

 


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