By charging people to use it!


1.       How to charge

2.       How much to charge


This is simple. Through our sister site we have a charging mechanism.  When a driver pulls up at your charger they send a text which tells us which charger they want to turn on and for how long.

You will set the price on our website

We collect the money and send it to you at the end of each month, simples



Assume 23kW of electricity or 2 gallons of petrol will power an EV for 100 miles

–          At 10/p/kWh 23kW costs £2.30

–          At £1.40/litre 9 litres of petrol (2 gallons) would cost £12.60

So a reasonable price would be anywhere in between.


A low price might encourage EV drivers to come to you; a high price will speed up payback.  Your choice, no laws yet.



We cannot sell electricity by the kW on the roadside so we “rent” our sockets.  You can set 2 charges

1.       To plug in (say £1)

2.       Per hour that the socket is turned on.  Using a 32amp socket a car will draw between 0 and 7.5kW in an hour (depends on the charge in the car, the weather, the controls etc).  Assume that you wish to charge say 30p/kWh then £2.25 an hour would be the price.  (I have paid £2 for 30 mins to charge my phone with a lot less electricity) is so easy to use that you can change the price regularly, i.e. increase it for a special event or reduce it for publicity


Please do not look at the number of hybrids and electrics on the road, look at the number of Plug In cars (not all Hybrids and LEVs plug in).  The SMMT’s website  list registrations per month.

There are not that many on the roads but their number is increasing.  At the moment we have the Ampera and Leaf leading the publicity field, the I-miev, C5 and Ion right behind and a few others.

This summer we will see the plug-in Prius followed by some Lexus models.  The first all-electric Ford Focus was delivered at the end of May (in America but it will make its way here soon)

I expect that the number of plug-ins will increase as the number of models available increases.

Get one now or in a few months or years?  Well, get it now and it comes complete with publicity showing your Green Credentials.  Plus, we have an offset option which means you can have a charger with no capital expense.

People will charge where they park their cars, so if you have a charger it is probably time to give me a call 01268 415 447    07 88 77 48 275 or

Keywords for this blog.  Electric Vehicle.  Electric Car Chargers. Low Emmision Vehicle. LEV. Car Charging. Car Charging in Car Parks.  Charging Points. Car Charging Points. Electric Vehicle Charging Points




According to the SMMT ( the number of new cars eligible for the Plug-In Car Grant registered in May 2012 was 181, that is an amazing 229% increase on May 2011!  Year to date the figure is 669 up 36% on this time last year.

If this rate of growth continues then car parks are going to need EV chargers to meet their customer’s needs.  My blog explains how you can get a charger for free, paying from the revenue only.

Of course chargers should earn you money and I will be writing a blog soon about how you can make that happen through our pay-as-you-charge system (


Meanwhile what I want to know is why have registrations (new car sales) for plug-in cars increased so dramatically in the last month.  Is it the introduction of the new Ampera (

In the near future there will be a lot more plug in models available.

The Plug-In Prius is released this summer and Lexus will be following with more models.

The Renault is interesting, the cars are significantly cheaper but there is a monthly rental for the batteries.  On average I fill my car with petrol once or twice a week spending about £50 a time.  If the Renault batteries are £75 a month then the vehicle would represent a significant decrease in my travel costs.

So is the growth sustainable.  The detractors would say there is no appetite for electric cars; I have said for a while that the market is being held back by a lack of models.  So I will be keeping my eye on the figures to see if this increase is the start of a new trend or a blip in the figures

Meanwhile, if you have a car park, is it time to start considering putting in an electric car charging solution?  Contact me if you think the answer is Yes!

Since writting this the following news has been anounced

Bankrupt carmaker Saab has been sold to a Chinese-Swedish investment group which aims to turn the company into a maker of electric vehicles.

Headline from



Solar Photovoltaic Thermal returns are 5 times higher than Bank deposits

Thinking about installing a new Solar Photovoltaic Thermal (PVT) System?  Take a look at the numbers for a typical 10 panel system facing south at 30 degrees (using 190 watt PVT panels)


A normal PV (Photovoltaic) system could make 1,630kWh a year (using the Government’s SAP calculator).  Using Solar Photovoltaic Thermal panels (the panels are cooled and so produce more electricity) that rises to an estimated 1,900kWh a year

If you could use all the electricity you generate then you could save (at 14p/kWh) £270 a year off your electricity bill

As well as cooling the panels Photovoltaic Thermal also makes hot water.  Our system converts that to a permanent supply of hot water throughout the year, no more gas bills.

Attach it to a Low Temperature Heating System which uses about 30% less energy you could save another £260 a year in heating and hot water costs

That is a saving of £530 a year TAX FREE, an amount likely to increase each year as gas and electricity prices rise.

It will also knock about 50% off your CO2 footprint


The Feed in Tariff is here, at post August 1st rates generating 1,900kWh a year would earn you £440 a year TAX FREE from your utility company.

The Green Deal and Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) are not yet available but likely to earn around the same when they are introduced

Earnings could be as high as £880 a year TAX FREE.

If you would like to calculate returns for your home have a look at


To achieve an income of (£880 + £440) £1,320 a year after tax you would need to earn (at 40%) £2,200.

Assuming you could achieve 2.5% interest you would have to deposit £88,000 in the bank

Installing PVT (Photovoltaic Thermal) will cost less than 1/5th of this amount

For your own personalised quote please contact me on 01268 415 447 or email

For more information take a look at my blog or website at




Save up to 31% on your energy usage with Low Temperature Heating Systems and then Solar Photovoltaic Thermal Panels generate part of your heat and electricity saving even more.


According to the BSRIA* Low Temperature Heating Systems can use 31% less energy than conventional methods

An average 3 bed house uses 25,000kW of energy a year for heat and hot water, that’s £1,000 a year on energy, saving 31% is significant.

In a conventional system water is pumped around the radiators at around 70 degrees centigrade.  The water passes through radiators, the heat transfers from the radiator in to the air in the room.  Simples

In a Low Temperature Heating System the water travels around the radiators at only 50 degrees, to make that effective we use fan convectors, these blow the heat in to the room.  That is a much quicker and more effective way to transfer the heat from the water in to the air in the room, yep, cooler and quicker to heat your house. (and no red hot radiators)

So we don’t need so much water in the system as the fan, not the water is doing the work, Low Temperature Heating Systems use about 5% of the water compared to conventional systems.

5% of the water heated 20 degrees less that has got to be efficient!

Now attach it to a renewable source such as Solar Photovoltaic Thermal Panels and see what happens.  The PVT panels create warmed or hot water.  A heat pump increases the temperature to 55 degrees to give a store.  Again this has to be cheaper because the initial work of heating is being carried out by the sun.

What happens when there is no sun?  When the sun is out it can make too much hot water so we store some for later use.  Even in a UK winter there will always be spare

What happens when it breaks?  In a conventional system you get cold, we have a built-in backup just in case.

The amount of solar electricity a solar panel will generate is tested at 25 degrees centigrade.  If the temperature increases then the amount of solar electricity generated will fall.

The heat pump takes the heat from the liquid circulating the panels and puts it in your cylinder, so the water around the panels is being cooled which is cooling the panels which can increase electrical productivity by up to 20%

So Solar Photovoltaic Thermal Panels generate hot water from the sun, generate more electricity than normal panels saving money on electricity bills, gas bills, heating bills etc

And there is more, they might have cut the Feed in Tariff but this goes someway to replacing the lost income from generating your own electricity by generating more (up to 20% more electricity generated)

The renewable heat incentive (RHI) as part of the green deal will add even more income

Financially and ecologically sound.  The fuel is free, the electricity you generate is yours to use, you will make your own hot water and you will get a tax free income, what are you waiting for, call me

Check out my blogs on and don’t forget to like this on facebook, +1 it on google and click on the adverts

Contact me for more information and a personal quote


* Building Services Research and Information Association




Well that is one way to look at it.  Spain and Greece are having to pay huge (by today’s standards) interest rates to raise money because investors are not absolutely convinced they will get their money back

PV can be risky, but, as I bask in the sun this Sunday morning, I remember that most years our weather is about the same just eclectic on timing (I remember driving, roof down, in a T-shirt in September and having a party washed out by torrential rain on Mid-Summer’s day, ahhhh)

On the whole, even in the UK, PV is safer and there will be no “having to take a haircut” (what a fabulous euphemism for “default”) on your income as the banks had to do with Greek debt a while back.

On Thursday the DECC announced the new FiT which comes in to force from the 1st August.

The new rates are

System Size

Generation Tariff

Export Tariff
















 So is it worth putting up PV?

Let’s look at the potential return from 10 x 250 watt panels facing South at 30 degrees (using the Governments preferred SAP Calculator)


From 1st August

Generation Income



Export Income



Total Income



Saved (percentage)


Cost per kw




Total Value




If you invest £7,000 at 5% compound in 20 years you will have £17,688.

However the interest will be taxable, let’s say your marginal rate of tax over 20 years is 40% (huge assumptions but gives the idea).  Take off the tax each year and the return falls to £12,274

If you spend that money putting PV on your roof then, in the first year this will return (approx.) £552.60.  Each year that will grow by inflation (assume 3%) and will be reduced by the degradation of the panels (guaranteed to retain 80% production over 25 years).  Let’s assume that degradation is straight line, so in year 2 the income will be £564.  By year 20 it will have reached £831.  By year 20 your return (income plus saving) will have totalled £13,650

If each year you bank the money (like for like) and earn interest (which is taxable unlike the income) then by year 20 you would have £17.955


In theory then you are significantly better off if you put the PV panels on your roof than if you invest the money at 5% in the bank.


1.    At the moment you would be hard pushed to get 5% unless you lent the money to Greece or Spain, it would seem PV is a lot less risky

2.    If one person puts up PV panels it makes no difference at all but if a million people put them up then the benefit in terms of greenhouse gasses is huge

3.    Inflation is likely to stick around for a while PLUS the amount you save on using the electricity you generate yourself could be worth significantly more.


The new FiT Contract is:-

1.    20 Years – was 25

2.     Still index linked (why????)

3.    Potentially going to fall every quarter for new entrants

So, get in early!

This is my opinion only.  If you want more information please go to

Contact me, or 01279 320020 for more information

This is the opinion of Charles MD at Use the Sun, an MCS accredited company that specialises in the installation of Solar PV (Solar Photovoltaic), Solar PVT (Solar Photovoltaic Thermal and Electric Car Chargers).  Official statements can be found on the websites linked to in the text.

Use the Sun to turn light in to electricity and cash

Photovoltaic Thermal


Saving money, earning money or going green,  PVT is the new answer.  Here is some more information you might like to know. Contact me for a personalised quote

Significantly more efficient and cutting edge.

Bit More Detail

The new panels have a “radiator” like attachment fixed to the rear around which flows a water/glycol mixture.

A solar PV panel in the UK can easily reach 80 degrees centigrade.  Circulating a cold liquid will cool the panel.  In the midday heat the cooler PV panel can be up to 30% more efficient at generating electricity.

The by product is a warmed liquid, run through a heat pump the liquid it is put under pressure so becoming significantly hotter.  This then goes through a cylinder creating enough hot water for both domestic and heating needs.

On a like for like comparison of a 3 bedroom house the electricity cost could be £300 less than the cost of gas for a conventional gas boiler.

Connect to a Low Temperature Heating System with convector radiators and BSRIA tests show a further energy saving of up to 31%


What happens to the warmed water if we don’t need it?  The warmed water is either used immediately or is stored in a separate tank for later use

What happens at night?  The stored warmed water is passed through the heat pump which will have to work harder to bring the water up to temperature

What if we don’t get any sun? Worst case scenario the heat pump cannot cope and so there is an electrical element in the cylinder to bring the temperature up and ensure a permanent hot water supply

How much does it cost?  The system I just defined is suitable for a 3 bedroom house.  We use 10 x 190 watt panels (peak 1.9kW).  Total installed price £16,000 (not including radiators).  A saving will be made by not installing a boiler

How much can I earn?

–      The PV Element is entitled to the Feed in Tariff.  A South facing roof should generate at least 1,600kWh a year (with the cooling maybe 15% more).  At 21p/kWh the Generation Tariff will earn £342 plus an assumed export of £25, total £367 (with cooling maybe 15% more) index linked for 25 years

–      The Renewable Heat Incentive is still to be introduced.  Indications are it will be at least as valuable as the Feed in Tariff

How much can I save? There are multiple savings to be made

–      Using the electricity you generate could save up to £240 a year

–      Heating and hot water could save £300 a year

–      Low Temperature Heating System could save 31% of your heating cost

If utility bills increase the savings become more valuable

And, of course, there is the CO2 savings to be made

What about maintenance? This is a very low maintenance system, we are offering an introductory 3 year free maintenance contract or to train your maintenance staff for free

Contact me if you would like to discuss it further

All the best

Feed in Tariff Greg Barker

Greg Barker Tweets “We have listened carefully to the solar industry and are considering moving the date of the feed-in tariff changes as a result of concerns,”

Spin?  I am getting Dizzy!

The Feed in Tariff is a great concept and at today’s rates makes it worth putting PV on your roof in the UK, (I just read the meters for 2 small systems and will be £500 better off in a few weeks, not bad seeing it has rained nearly every day for a month)

What is killing the Feed in Tariff is this government’s need to tinker with it and then tinker some more until everyone is so confused they won’t bother.

It is simple really (I feel a rant coming on).  In the UK we don’t have the weather to make Solar PV viable without a little assistance, Thus the Feed in Tariff.  We all know that last year the FiT was much too generous and we kept saying so until, finally, the Government over reacted and cut the FiT by too much too quickly.

However, like any good industry we fought back, dropped our prices, many installers shut up shop and those of us that are left have work on.

But this Government won’t leave it there, no, they have positioned the knife and they are desperate to put it in and twist it around a bit, so immediately they announce another review and hide in there the idea that they can back date the results of this review.

Of course they can’t back date it, the incompetence shown in December on this issue would be as a molehill compared to the legal battles they would have to fight

What about the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), is that ever going to come out

Every time the Government make a new announcement they make it more and more difficult for the business to survive.  Stop the rumours and announcements of future announcements, make a statement and STICK BY IT and then we may all be better off financially and ecologically

In its current state the FiT works by being just enough to incentivise people without costing the country a fortune.  Announce an end to changes and announcements and let us get on with our jobs


PV, PVT or PV and T

PhotoVoltaic, Photovoltaic Thermal or PhotoVoltaic and Thermal. That is the question

A solar panel can reach 80 degrees centigrade in the noon day sun, if we cool it down to say 20 degrees centigrade it could be up to 30% more efficient.

I have been investigating an amazing solution from Smiths Environmental Products (, now this is a cool piece of kit

Simply put the system runs water around the rear of the panel, this cools the panel making it more efficient.

The by-product is hot water.  Run this through Smith’s Heat Pump and this will bring it up to a temperature that can be used to heat the water in your cylinder for domestic and heating hot water.  If it is not needed (the heat of the day) it can be stored for later use (at night)

So throw out the gas guzzling boiler and put in PVT (PhotoVoltaic Thermal panels).

It gets better though because we then recommend a Low Temperature Heating System.  Because the water travelling around the system is not as hot as a conventional system you need either to increase the size of your radiators (nahh) or to use fan convectors.

The fan convectors are great, they use a low power fan to blow the air around.

BSRIA figures suggest that this is 24% more efficient than conventional radiators, rising to 31% when used in conjunction with a low temperature system

So now we have no boiler, sun powered hot water assisted by electricity which might have been made by the panels (during the day at least) and a more efficient and responsive heating system

So, is it worth it?  Well, actually the PVT works out to be about 3 times more expensive than straight PV.  I have just quoted £16k for a 10 panel system but I have a feeling that I might lose money on that one.  Still, we all have to install our first one and Smith’s are being very very helpful

According to the Governments guidelines if the panels were south facing at 30 degrees they should generate about 1,631kWh of electricity a year, the Feed in Tariff income would be around £367.  If we assume that the efficacy from cooling will add 15% that is now £420

Using the electricity we generate ourselves might save a further £200 a year making the PV element worth around £620 a in the first year (increasing with inflation each year for 25 years)

On the saving we have a system which will cost around £600 a year compared to a conventional gas system of around £900, so a further £300 a year and rising with prices.

In the first year the client will be around £920 better off, not a bad return on £16k especially if you factor in the effects of inflation in future years.

This becomes even more valuable if you needed a new boiler anyway (as this client does), they had factored in £2k to install the boiler and that is money saved

On the downside you will have to add in the cost to change all your radiators to Fan Convection

So for £16k plus radiators minus new boiler you get

–          A tax free income of £420 a year index linked

–          An energy saving of £500 a year rising with the cost of energy

–          A more responsive heating system

–          A more efficient house

To me that is financially marginal, if you want to increase your self-sufficiency in a green way then this is the route for you

Leaving the best for last is the ever threatened Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).  Not wishing to pre-guess when it will come in and how much it will be worth I would hazard a guess that the value of this incentive makes the whole deal financially sound as well.  This system should be entitled to the RHI when it is introduced.

It has been a long learning curve for me but I am now convinced it is a good idea and I hope that my client goes for it

If you would like to know more please contact me, or 01268 415447



The Green Motor Show

Walking in to Ecovelocity yesterday afternoon to be met by a Lightning, Fisker Karma and a Tesla was special.  There are 3 cars that prove that electric vehicles can be sexy!

The lightning can do 0 to 60 in less than 5 seconds; the new Tesla has a range exceeding 300 miles while the Fiisker Karma is a range extender.  Whether your need is speed or distance these vehicles offer an eye catching solution.

The prototype Vauxhall Electric City Car reminds

me of the film Tron.  And the fabulous 3 seater Mia were also on display.

Two great looking cars that are leading the way (with others such as the Renault Twizzy etc) in proving that electric cars can be new and exciting.

The only disappointment was the number of vehicles on display.  Yes there was the Volt and Ampera for the mid market, a Renault Kangoo and Nissan Leaf etc.  But I would have liked to have seen some of the models due for release from the likes of BMW, Audi, Ford etc.

I had my ticket as part of Grand Designs live where I was researching in to some the latest eco building methods available to the public.  I was very impressed with the Polysolar Greenhouse, PV panels on a greenhouse that let through the suns growing rays while converting its power in to electricity.

So not too disappointed with the day as a whole.  Maybe next year we will see a few more vehicles.

PV Installs fall

As PV Installations fall is there still a profit in putting PV on your roof?


The Feed in Tariff has been in a bit of a limbo since the Government announced a cut in the rate late last year.  The cut was first due to come in to effect on the 11th December; in the final week of the old Tariff 29,510 installations were recorded (

The Government lost the ensuing court cases and the new rates came in to effect from early March.  In the week ending 8th April the lowest number of installations were recorded, just 820.

In November and December 2011 the average number of installations was 12,986 a week, in April that had fallen to 2,629.

This fall is not a good thing for a fledgling market in a recession, the cause is obvious, many bought forward their purchasing decision to beat the cuts.  Of those that did not many are disillusioned by the cut in the Tariff and therefore their income

Whilst the Government have cut the FiT the cost of installation has also fallen quite dramatically.  In 2 ½ year we have seen the cost of equipment fall by over 50% which has been reflected in the retail price.

Looking at a 4kW system on a South facing roof at 30 degrees.  The cost installed is now less than £9,000 (our first 4kW system 2.5 years ago was circa £16k).  This system could generate 3,434kWh a year.

The generation tariff at 21p is worth £721.06, the assumed export a further £51.50 so the owner will earn £772.56 tax free.  On top of that if they can use 50% of the electricity they generate saving 12p (average price) per kWh that represents a saving of £206.02.  Making the system worth £978.58 in the first year, a return of nearly 11%.

Of course the return is index linked for 25 years, so all things being equal, the annual return should increase every year.

So why are they not selling?

The Government has announced another review to drop the price as from the 1st July.  Normally that would encourage people to get in early; except those who have read the review.  There are 4 points that jump out at me

1.       Drop the Generation Tariff from 21p to, maybe as low as 14p for sub 4kW systems

2.       Remove the index linking

3.       Reduce the length of the contract

4.       Back date the FiT to existing contracts

A potential return of 11% is very generous but let’s be realistic.  This return is only for people with a South Facing Roof at a pitch of 30 degrees, change the pitch or the direction and your return falls.  An 8% to 10% return is much more likely.

But, is 8% – 10% a good return, your money is tied up for 25 years and the return is based on the UK weather, yes that is taken in to account in the calculations but it remains a nagging doubt in many people’s minds.

Some might say that a fall in the tariff will lead to a corresponding fall in prices, as happened in December.  No, there is not the room, when we started the “Kit” was about 70% of the price, now it is about 40% with labour, scaffolding, accessories etc making up the rest.  Even if the kit prices fall I doubt we will see a significant reduction in price.

Removing the index linking is a good idea; the capital cost is a sunk cost why should the return be indexed.  If you put the money in the bank you can have your interest or you can have capital growth, you can’t have both

Reducing the length of the contract.  I’ll come back to this another day

Back dating the new rate to existing contracts.  Hit me over the head with a large hammer.  OK.  This is a huge subject which I will come back to another day but for now let’s just say that if the Government were made to look incompetent by their actions of December 11th and the ensuing court cases that they lost en-mass that is nothing compared to what would happen if they changed the Tariff retrospectively for people who had paid more for their system.

Why are sales so dire?  In my opinion it is because of the way the Government are making everyone too nervous to get involved