Energy Group Meeting Notes

Present: Caroline, Philip, Paul, Siva, Jimll, John

Caroline started by briefly detailing where we’d got to so far in the bulk purchase solar PV scheme. We also had a look at the new New World Solar (NWS) price list – prices have come down since we had the original price list in November and they’ve also included a choice of panels.  There was some concern that having such as choice makes things more confusing for people and we also need to check whether its just the original panel manufacturer that is covered by the ecological supply chain analysis.

ACTION: Philip would like a copy of the NWS new and old price lists for price change comparisons which Caroline will supply him with.

Now we need to decide how we’re going to proceed with the scheme between now and the end of March. We’re still waiting for the DECC appeal to the High Court decision on the illegality of the December FITS cut to know what the rate will be, but even at 21p per kWh the new NWS bulk prices can provide a 7-8% return on investment.

Siva asked if the scheme could be used by housing associations for council properties, as tenants will not otherwise be able to take advantage of this. Jimll pointed out that part of the FITS rate changes in December was the “multi-roof” schemes had their subsidy returns slashed, so CNH might be a year too late. Caroline said that this was to stop “rent a roof” companies but its also had a negative effect on deploying large solar panel schemes in social housing.

Paul suggested on a promo leaflet we should have photos and little stories of successful installations. Caroline is happy to have her example used.

We talked about how to promote an event. Options were a market stall or a weekend or evening presentation in a community centre. Jimll said that a market stall won’t necessarily attract working homeowners.  Caroline suggested having posters to advertise the scheme that we could put up in some of the community centres that Transition Loughborough has used in the past. We should also produce leaflets. Philip pointed out that we should include mention in the leaflets that the FITS rate of return should allow people to get bank loans and pay them back using the FITS payments.

Paul had brought in a press cutting about panels on Rothley parish church – Philip suggested that we should contact them with details of our scheme in case they hadn’t already picked a supplier.

ACTION: Paul to contact the church.

Briefly discussed solar thermal – NWS can also install that and gave us indicative prices back in November. DIY installs can often work out cheaper even with RHI payments though, so this is something we’ll need to think more about.

Actions that we need to do to re-launch the scheme:

  • Sort out leaflets
    • Need to ask people who have had installations if they would agree to their “story” being included in the leaflet
    • Need to find a graphic designer (either from within TL or get quotes). Caroline has the Word document with the original WFEG A3 double sided leaflet text in it.
    • Agree on updated leaflet text (via email)
  • Contact the “reserve” list of people who expressed an interest before but haven’t had an installation yet with the new leaflet text and prices.
  • Arranging a presentation for 16th Feb
    • Press release to Loughborough Echo promoting the installations made so far and the ongoing scheme/presentation
    • Caroline to check that NWS are free on evening of 16th Feb and also how the promotional fund would work (do we pay and reclaim costs, or do we get them to pay?)
    • Paul to find out if John Storer House is available in the evening
    • Need article on web site to describe the scheme that people can be pointed to on mailing lists, from articles, etc
    • Distribute information to ABC, Friday Room, etc
    • Ideas for agenda: someone from TL presents the basis for scheme, NWS chap does a show-and-tell with panels, story from someone who has already had the installation done, time for discussions/networking.
    • Philip suggested that he could contact Stevenson College in Coalville to bring a presentation about their skills training courses.
    • Paul suggested having a carbon foot print calculator (Paul to contact Zena to see if she’d be interested in helping).

Energy efficiency measures were then briefly discussed. The FITS changes are planned to require homes to meet EPC Level C before they’d qualify for FITS payments. Options would be to get folk trained
as volunteer energy efficiency assessors. We could promote CBC’s Heat
Seekers scheme for insulation and stress that the funding will expire
in December. Need to talk the council to see what barriers people
have in getting insulation installed. Need to have a brainstorming session one what barriers might be, and what we can potentially do to help people overcome them (eg offering volunteers to help people clear lofts so that RHI grants can then be used for insulation, and then help them put things back in place).

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