Homeowner Blog

Erica Charles

Managing Director of Spirit Energy.

Recent Posts

Government Proposes New Export Tariff Scheme for Solar

Erica Charles · 11 Jan 2019

When the government announced in 2018 that it would close the Feed-in Tariff scheme with effect from 31st March 2019, it failed to put in place any replacement for the Export Tariff. Small scale solar PV systems installed after 31st March were likely to end up exporting excess solar generation to the grid for free.

Not surprisingly there was uproar within the industry at this prospect.

In response, the government has this week launched a consultation on the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG).

Read more...

Topics: Tariffs, Solar PV

The End of the Solar PV Export Tariff: Solar’s Turn to Subsidise the Grid?

Erica Charles · 07 Dec 2018

Back in July, the government announced its intention to close the Feed-in Tariff Scheme to new entrants from 31st March 2019.  The Export Tariff was scrapped at the same time, thus placing owners of small scale solar systems installed after 1st April 2019 in a position whereby they could find themselves exporting excess solar electricity to the Grid for free.

Not surprisingly the idea of the homeowner installing solar only to find themselves subsidising the Big 6 with free exported solar electricity has caused something of an outcry in the solar industry…

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Topics: Tariffs, Solar PV

Off-Grid Power: Is It Time to Ditch the Grid?

Erica Charles · 23 Nov 2018

"Can I go off-grid with solar?" is a question we are asked at least once a week. When the Big 6 hike electricity prices, make that once a day.

It's a particularly enticing proposition, especially if you are 'self-building' your dream home and aiming for PassivHaus standards and Grand Design prizes.

The short answer is "Yes you can go off-grid with solar."

A better answer is "Don't do it unless your grid connection is really expensive." Instead, make the grid work for you by taking full advantage of time-of-use tariffs (off-peak charging).

To illustrate our better answer, we've modelled an off-grid residential property with an annual electricity consumption of 5,000 kWh.

Read more...

Topics: Battery storage, Off grid, Solar PV

Can Solar Survive Without Subsidy? Find Out with Our Solar Calculator

Erica Charles · 09 Nov 2018

As you may know, the Feed-in Tariff solar subsidy scheme ends in March 2019.

After that, solar PV (solar electricity) has to stand on its own two feet.

The question is, can solar PV stand on its own two feet? 

And more to the point, if you can’t make the March 2019 installation deadline, should you still consider solar for your own property?

Equally if you want to extend your system (which wouldn’t qualify for subsidy even if you were to extend before March 2019), should you do so?

To help you work that out, we’ve launched a brand new Solar PV Calculator...

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Topics: Spirit Energy news, Solar PV, Calculator

Last 9 Months of the Feed-In Tariff Scheme… Claim Your Share!

Erica Charles · 28 Jun 2018

Since April 2010, more than 800,000 solar PV installations have benefitted from the hugely successful Feed-in-Tariff scheme.

The scheme was originally expected to be open until March 2021. However it is now closing to new entrants at the end of March 2019, due both to government cuts and the reduced costs of solar panels. The subsidies paid to existing members of the scheme will not be impacted by the closure.

If you haven't already installed solar PV you have nine months to claim your share of the pot...

Read more...

Topics: Tariffs, Solar PV

Which Home Car Charging Station? (And Driving 999 Steps to Heaven...)

Erica Charles · 06 Mar 2018

Electric cars are coming of age.

There are 130,000 electric vehicles driving on UK roads, car manufacturers are investing heavily in the technology, and the charging infrastructure is gradually being rolled out.

What's more electric vehicles are already breaking all of the records. Whilst the gas guzzling Bugatti Chiron manages 0-60 in a leisurely 2.3 seconds, Japanese car maker Aspark has produced the electric Aspark Owl which does 0-60 in 1.921 seconds. Meanwhile the electric Range Rover Sport has recently climbed the ‘999 steps to heaven’ in Tianmen Mountain (watch the video from the start of minute 4 if you don't want to listen to the preamble). And of course, Elon Musk's Tesla  is nearly 5 million miles away from Earth, travelling, at the time of writing, at a speed of 7257 miles / hour, doubtless with Bowie's Starman still blaring out to announce man's latest visitation in space. Along with a load of our very best bacteria, apparently.

All very exciting. Back to the mainstream...

Driving an electric car costs around 3.5p per mile as opposed to 15p or more per mile for a petrol car.  If you drive 100 miles a week, you can save around £11.50 per week in fuel costs, to set against increased lease / finance costs of around £15 per week.

So for £3.50 a week you will be cutting out tailgate emissions, reducing pollution, and saving yourself from breathing in petrol fumes every time you fill up.

Now that you’ve been convinced to make your next car electric, you’ll need an EV charger.

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Topics: EV charging, zappi

Get Ready for the Sun: Solar Panel Maintenance and Cleaning

Erica Charles · 23 Jan 2018

Believe it or not, spring is just around the corner.  And with it, the start of the sunny-but-not-so-hot season in which solar panels thrive.

Clean panels do better than dirty panels. And a well-maintained, serviced system does best of all.  

Which begs the question, how proactive should you be in looking after your solar system? What do other Spirit Energy customers do by way of servicing?

Read more...

Topics: Maintenance, Solar PV

Buy Cheap, Use Peak - a Game Changer for the UK Electricity Market?

Erica Charles · 30 Nov 2017

Our Tesla rep Jerry came to our office this week to update us on the latest Powerwall 2 developments.

The most exciting thing? Timed charging and discharging is due to go live in January or Feburary 2018.

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Topics: Battery storage, Tesla Powerwall

Solar Panel Upgrades: Is a SolarEdge Retrofit Worth It?

Erica Charles · 20 Oct 2017

If you own a domestic solar PV installation it’s likely that you will have been cold-called recently about a solar panel upgrade. We get emails or calls from our customers along the following lines about once a week:

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Topics: Solar PV

What Do You Mean Our Batteries Don't Work in a Power Cut?

Erica Charles · 22 Sep 2017

Last summer I installed a 14kWh battery system alongside my existing 7kWp home solar PV system. All went to plan until one day we had a letter from SSE saying they would be turning off our power one Saturday for 'routine maintenance', or something like that.

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Topics: Battery storage