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UK Solar Tax Subsidy website published inflated performance claims

Filed under: Latest News

Solar panel facts   – Solar water heating –   Solar heating installations – Solar energy secrets – Solar panels   – Best solar prices

Solar Twin Ltd can reveal today that the UK’s state run Enhanced Capital Allowance Scheme (ECA) which offers tax breaks for installers of solar thermal systems is riddled with missing or inaccurate data on the performance of solar heating collectors.

Solar Twin Ltd’s project may eventually deliver three levels of research into the matter. Two are now completed.

The first level was to simply examine the performance figures supplied by competitors by looking at the website and to se if they were true. This revealed that astronomically high performance claims of over 90% were being given for some products and that the required performance data was simply missing for other products. Unfortunately we fear that we are not allowed to name the companies involved because the highly ethical (self-regulating) solar water heating industry is threatening to wreck us if we rock the boat.

Messengers tend to get shot by black balls in this industry.

The second bit of research, given that fiction was obviously being published, was to investigate what would happen if we made a fictional performance claim too. So we applied to be on the ECA register of products and we made a fictional performance claim – just as our competitors had done. Lo and behold: our claim was immediately challenged. What was a bit funny was that the figure was promptly challenged by the particular business which has been dragging its heels in the formal process of our installer accreditation for grants, despite this business it being in contract with us to accredit us for nearly a year. Even gigglier is the fact that the named individual in this large establishment who handled this challenge is the very same individual with whom our grants-related installer application has been stalled. What a coincidence! Again, unfortunately we are not allowed to name the company or individual involved because the super clean (self-regulating) solar water heating industry is threatening to wreck us if we rock the boat.

The third level of research started with a freedom of information (FoI) request asking the Government how so much blatantly fictional data got through the application process. Also to seek an explanation why this happened and who was responsible and how much they were being paid to work as gatekeepers. We are still awaiting an answer to the FoI. Anyway don’t watch this space because we may not be allowed to publish the results we get anway, This is because we are already being pressed by the lovely (self-regulating) solar water heating industry to self-regulate ourselves. This will include being nauseatingly sycophantic to the Solar Trade Assocation. Presumably we will have to thank them grovellingly for excluding us from membership in defiance of their own rules. Also required will be our covering up documents obtained under FoI which we currently publish which discuss   the Legionella risks of old solar installations – the ones which we are refusing to fit for safety reasons and which are causing the delay on installer accreditation as discussed above.

So read the truth here before all it vanishes!

Update of 28 July 2009. Solar Twin Ltd gave the following suggestion to the ECA helpdesk at ECAQuestions(at)CarbonTrust.co.uk.

I am interested in exploring the possibility of making the scope of ECA more relevant to the environment. The current scheme assesses gross panel efficiency rather than looking at a net system output approach. The scheme could easily be expanded to encourage innovation such as use of PV to power solar thermal systems, rather than using mains electrics which negate COâ‚‚ savings by typically 20% regardless of the peak efficiency of the solar collector.

At present the solar thermal criteria specify an unreasonably high instantaneous panel efficiency. This a problematic criterion for several reasons. This efficiency is not achieveable with double glazed. Such an efficiency is usually of minimal relevance since few buildings are actually short of roofs or sunny walls. Instead their owners tend to be are short of money with which to clad them with cost-effective collectors.

In effect by using panel efficiency there is a potentially unalwful technical component specification being used. It is a single component efficiency and is not a system efficiency. Systems are what matter. The current criterion incentivises very poorly the use of ultra low carbon systems (I refer to both embodied carbon and operating carbon). It also ignores costs-benefits even though these are the main reasons why solar is not chosen.

Might it be possible to have a reconsideration of the criteria please? The ideal may be to incentivise systems with low carbon footprint and the best costs benefits instead.

I would be most grateful if you could pass this email to those who are responsible for the technical eligibility criteria.

Update 2 of 28/7/9. Today we got a rather unhelpful Freedom of Information request reply to some of our earlier concerns. Almost nothing was answered.


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