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Time for DIY solar to get state subsidy?

Filed under: Latest News

Solar panel   – DIY solar water heating –   Solar heating DIY installations – Solar energy DIY – Solar panels DIY   – Best solar prices DIY

If you think that DIY solar heating has been discriminated against

and excluded from state subsidy for too long, read on! There are two main “market distortions” as the European Commissioners whould call them, VAT and grants.

AThe VAT penalty – in UK, for example DIY solar kits face 17.5% VAT in UK when installed solar is charged at only 5%. So 12.5% more tax on an energy saving product than the tax on the fuel that it displaces. This is anomalous and needs fixing.

BThe Grants Exclusions. The double whammy is that across most of Europe, state aid for solar panels is only being paid to support solar heating installations which are professionally fitted. The official “industry argument” which I have uncovered in my research is that only professionals can install complex solar properly so all installations must be professionally installed. (Yes, it is a flawed argument.) In reality this position is about ripping the customer off and creating yet another expensive new guild within Europe’s construction industry.

At Solartwin, where we find that DIY solar heating installations perform just as well as professional solar installations, we would support grant aid for them, but only provided these twelve conditions are met:

  • Small size installation (e.g. under 10 sqm of collector).
  • Heat must be supplied to one individual domestic owner occupied home (ie: not supplying hot water to multiple, communal homes or social homes).
  • Electrical safety. Technology to be thermosyphon or pumped low voltage (<50V).
  • Pressure safety. Technology to be open vented and low pressure (not covered by the Pressure Equipment Directive).
  • Fire safety. Plumbing fittings do not use open flames or any heated solders. (This means using other types of fittings.)
  • Clear, illustrated installation instructions are supplied (in the declared first language of the DIY installer).
  • A free telephone or SKYPE type video advice service from a qualified solar installer is available. (at least 35 hours a week.)
  • An ISO 9000 or equivalent, robust installation quality management system is in place (where a qualified solar installer validates the installation, and requires correction of any noncompliances).
  • At least 12 clearly specified photos and appropriate commissioning checklists are supplied by the DIY customer to the warranter.
  • All photos received must be checked twice to be “present and correct”. (Present means the actual photo, eg of the panel fixing to the roof is supplied and not missing or out of focus. Correct means the supplied photos is seen, not assumed, to comply fully with the suppliers/ warranters instructions.)
  • Compliance conditionality – the warranty document is not issued AND the commissioning checklist is not counter-signed by the in-house qualified installer until full compliance is gained. The system is sold with this conditionality explicitly stated in the contract.
  • Responsibility for system performance under the warranty resides with the qualified solar installer who has inspected and validated the installation.

When all of these conditions are satisfied, then any third party solar certification (such as the Irish scheme or UK MCS scheme) or state solar panels subsidy (such as LCBP) apply.

This is our experience. Based on a freeze tolerant collector with a PV powered pump and controller, we have made DIY solar into a successful product with low maintenance issues. This approach is labour intensive at our end, but it works well.   Currently the exclusion of   DIY solar installations from state aid is a real concern, given that DIY solar is potentially the most cost effective way to go solar.

I hope this is interesting. Do please lobby your MP or MEP – http://www.writetothem.com/


Written and published by -
Genfit - 0344 567 9032

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Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive Released

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