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The Green Deal: A New Era for Solar Power?
Following the European Commission's requirements to reduce Europe's CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050, the UK Government will be introducing a new initiative in October, the Green Deal, which may change the future of solar energy.
Under this new scheme, homeowners will no longer need to fund the cost of energy efficiency measures upfront and will now be able to apply for a loan secured against the energy meter of their property, rather than the property itself. Furthermore, a suitability study will be undertaken before the loan is granted, ensuring that a so-called 'Golden Rule' is met and that the cost of those measures is less than the energy saved by their installation, making it a worthwhile investment.
At the heart of this scheme is the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). What is an EPC? Introduced in England and Wales on 1 August 2007 as part of Home Information Packs (HIPs) for domestic properties, they remained in force even after HIPs were removed in May 2010. A legal requirement for anyone selling, letting or building a property, they assess and grade the energy efficiency of a building and make recommendations on how to improve it. An invaluable source of information, they allow prospective buyers to compare like for like and make a decision based not only on the purchase price of a home but also on the long-term cost of heating it.
Under the Green Deal, advisors or assessors will make home visits to look at the property, the energy bills and the behaviour of the occupiers energy-wise. They will ensure that the Golden Rule is met and that the scheme and its financial commitment are not recommended to people who would not benefit from it, like low energy users for example. If the property doesn't already have an EPC, the advisors will carry it out then to check its energy rating and recommend energy efficiency measures.
For What is an EPC Visit: http://www.epcarlson.co.uk/
For EPC: http://www.epcarlson.co.uk/
Although the Green Deal will in all likelihood be concentrating on improving the insulation of existing properties in its first phase, it is doubtful that the UK would be able to meet its legislative target of reduction of CO2 emissions without investing in renewable energy. Whether solar energy measures will meet the Golden Rule will depend on the feed-in tariffs available and the cost of solar panels, but as the pressure increases to meet the European targets, solar energy is likely to come out as the big winner of this new Green Deal and impose itself as the best solution to improve the energy efficiency of properties at an individual level as it remains the most efficient, affordable and easy to install solution for residential customers.