Snow making you blue? Go green

With extreme snowfall in the UK at the moment, we’re seeing evidence of climate change yet again. Climate change and global warming do not just mean hotter temperatures, but greater periods of precipitation – such as snow.

So, there’s no better time to adopt a greener lifestyle…

Truth be told, it isn’t easy being green. We all try our best, but there always seems to be so many hurdles. We’ve all thrown an empty plastic packet in the bin and instantly realised it could’ve been recycled. At times, it feels like everything we own needs charging. And everywhere you go, people try to sell you something, wrapped in plastic, that needs charging!

However, the world – and people’s habits – are changing. With industries now responding to the more conscious consumer, it’s easier than ever to cut down our carbon calorie count. To help, we’ve listed some tips below on how we can all be a little bit greener.


1) Reduce, Re-use, Recycle

You’ve probably heard this phrase a lot, but it remains a cornerstone of battling the mountains of waste we all produce. Reducing the plethora of plastic we buy is a hugely important, as this is slowly polluting all pockets of the planet.

Luckily, there are many businesses now dedicated to producing goods made solely from recycled materials. From jewellery and jugs, to Tupperware and toilet paper, alternatives are out there if we look hard enough. Some great examples can be found on Etsy, where you can buy and sell homemade goods and creations online.

And of course, making the everyday effort with our household recycling really does make a difference.


2) Use Technology

Everything we buy has a carbon footprint; some bigger than others, but are we aware of the emissions that each product we buy has produced? Well, now you can be – with smartphone apps like GoodGuide, which allows you to track the product’s carbon footprint via a barcode, or Commute Greener, which enables you to select the greenest way to arrive at work.


3) Buy Second Hand

Nowadays, there are loads of apps for buying, selling and sharing things locally. If you need a one-off item, the chances are someone somewhere has it – check out Olio, Streetbank or Freecycle, to name a few.

If you’re not into techy stuff, why not visit a charity shop next time you need a fancy dress outfit? You’ll save a heap of money, contribute to a good cause, and help save the planet – a win-win all round!


4) Go Renewable

Renewable energy is on the rise, and switching to a renewable energy provider will turn coal-dependent cuppas into a breeze-powered brews! As renewable energy prices continue to fall, bills will too – making this one of the easiest ways to cut carbon footprints, without changing day-to-day life.

Solarplicity’s got you covered on this one; as a leading renewable energy company in the UK, we source all of our power from sustainable supplies – just head over to our Homepage for a quick quote and simple switch!


5) Watch What We Eat

Did you know? 1KG of beef requires around 15,000 litres of water to produce, and uses 28 times the amount of land than chicken or pork.

Don’t worry – this isn’t an instruction to stop eating meat. However, it’s clear that decreasing the amount of meat we consume is an effective way to reduce our environmental impact.

If you eat meat every day, why not try one veggie dish a week? Many dishes like a curry or stir-fry work just as well with broccoli and leeks instead of beef and lamb.

If you really are a meat addict, you can still be greener without giving up your daily fix. Switching to more locally sourced and seasonal produce will drastically eat into those food miles. And, as with everything in this list, it doesn’t require a dramatic change in lifestyle or budget.


So, there you have it – going green isn’t so hard after all. Simply give these a try and we’ll be eco-warriors in no time!

By Theo Drijver

Tackling climate change. Katie’s on board. Are you?

Join snowboarding sensation Katie Ormerod at Castleford Snozone – 18th December!

As one of the UK’s leading renewable energy providers, we’re passionate about doing all we can to help tackle climate change. That’s why we’re excited to have teamed up with the talented young snowboarder – and future Olympic gold medal hopeful – Katie Ormerod for a very special event at Snozone in Castleford on 18th December 2017, from 5pm-9.30pm.

Katie has always been passionate about protecting the planet and we’re thrilled to introduce her as the newest member of the Solarplicity team. Together, we can beat climate change!

It’s a fact. Skiers and Snowboarders are experiencing climate change first hand. The earth’s rising temperature caused from greenhouse gas emissions is continuing to decrease snow fall, snow cover and snow depth. Alpine ski resorts could lose up to 70% of snow cover by the year 2100. That’s where we come in – with renewable energy producing little or no waste products… therefore having a minimal impact on the environment.

Katie Ormerod spent some of her time snowboarding at Castleford Snozone whilst growing up, working hard to reach the standard of snowboarder she is today. Now, as she builds towards the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, we’re lucky enough to have Katie joining us for a very special event – and you’re invited to come along!

Things will kick off on the slope, as Katie shows off her awesome snowboarding skills, followed by a FREE 1 hour snowboarding lesson, taken by Katie herself!

There are limited spaces available for this very special lesson – so don’t miss out. If you want to take part, call Snozone now, on 0333 003 0520!

Don’t fancy having a lesson but still want to snowboard? We’ll be giving away FREE SHARE THE SLOPE SLOTS, where Katie will be snowboarding on the slope with you! These slots are strictly limited – so book yours now calling the number above so you don’t miss out!

Not up for snowboarding? No problem. There will be lots of other fun activities to keep you busy throughout the evening. Then, at the end of the event, you’ll have the opportunity to hear Katie talk about climate change and participate in a Q&A session!

With future sports stars like Katie on board, we can all do something positive about tackling climate change. We hope you’re on board too!

Full event schedule:



Katie Ormerod at Castleford Snozone


Monday 18th December, 2017




Snozone Yorkshire
Colorado Way
WF10 4TA


0333 003 0520 (BOOK LESSONS & SLOTS HERE)



Get ready for your lesson or snowboarding before Katie takes on the slope.



Everyone to head to the slope to watch Katie in action!

Don’t forget to grab a hot drink from the Ice bar between 5:30pm – 8pm.



1 hour development level lesson with Katie – remember to call up and book your slot (limited spaces available).



Have some snowboarding fun with Katie on the slope. Free passes available – call Snozone to book!



Time to chill out at the bar and grab your free drink.



Head to the conference room for a free buffet and photo opportunities with Katie!



Listen to Katie talk about the importance of climate change – and get your questions ready for Katie for the Q&A!

Please note these times are an estimate.

Energy, the simpler way

Listening to customer feedback is really important to us – and never more so than when it comes to helping us make a positive change to the way we do things.

Our core value is simplicity – and this is something customers have told us they want to see coming across from us in all we do. So that’s why we’re ditching inflexible, old-fashioned fixed energy plans, and offering our customers one simple variable energy plan only.

Let’s face it, life is complicated enough – so we want to keep your energy supply simple, with one energy plan and one rate. That’s one simple plan for electricity, one for gas and one for dual fuel.

But we’re not stopping there. After a trial period, it’s become clear that our tiered pricing structure has unfortunately caused a bit of confusion with many of our customers… so we’re saying goodbye to complicated tiering and will now be offering one simple, straightforward and clear rate only.

We can already promise that your energy bills will always be lower than the ‘big 6’… but now, to help you save even more with your energy bills, we’re going to offer ALL our customers free LED lightbulbs when they sign up! Ready to get yours? All you need to do is fill out a form, select your bulbs and order!

And, because we always like to go further, we’ve given standing charges and exit fees the boot too (unlike other energy providers)! What you pay for with us: the energy you actually use… and nothing else. And we don’t want you to feel unhappy with your energy supplier – so if for any reason you want to leave us, you can do so with no extra fee.

Don’t forget, at Solarplicity, we only offer electricity that’s 100% renewable. So, every time our customers make a cuppa, they can give themselves a well-deserved pat on the back.

Any questions? Feel free to pick up the phone and give us a call… our team are always up for a chin wag! And if you ever have some spare time in your day, we’d really appreciate your feedback so we can continue making positive improvements to our service!

COP23 summary


COP23 was centred around attempts to make progress on developing the Paris agreement. The deadline for this work is next year’s COP in Poland so the goal of COP23 in Bonn was to create a draft, with options and disagreements outlined to be resolved.


Compensation for developing nations

Fiji’s Permanent Secretary for Local Government, Housing and Environment stated that small island states and developing countries are hit far harder than industrialised nations. 25 million people worldwide are already being displaced every year due to the effects of climate change.

Rich countries have not done enough to meet their commitments to helping developing countries. In 2009 it was agreed that developed countries will mobilising $100bn a year to help the developing countries tackle climate change. This was made for the period up to 2020 and countries have not yet delivered. At first, many developed countries dismissed these demands. However, they have now accepted.
At the request of the Fijian COP23 presidency and other partners, it has been decided that they will open a regional hub in Fiji’s capital Suva. This hub will be put in place to advise the small island states on how to reach their climate targets and to support regional cooperation. Key projects will focus on exiting fossil fuels, agriculture, and economic diversification. Small island states depend on fossil fuels for 80-90% of their energy needs.


Loss and damage

A key part of helping loss and damage is being able to find sources of finance to cope with the impacts. There is no estimate on how much money is needed by countries suffering climate change now and in the future. More than 50 groups who are disappointed by the slow progress on loss and damage have backed the idea of ‘climate damages tax’, a tax on fossil fuel supplies to help fund support to those hit by climate change impacts. It was mentioned that those believed to be polluters should help pay for homes and livelihoods wrecked by rising sea levels and extreme weather.

In Bonn on Tuesday, negotiators agreed to hold an “expert dialogue” in 2018 to discuss raising funds for climate change victims, deferring the contentious discussion for another year.


Coal Phase out

Coal phase out has become a significant focal point. 19 nations have committed to quickly phasing out coal, the dirtiest fuel that kills 80,000 people a year with air pollution. A separate group of 19 nations stated that they plan to use more wood and other plant matter from sustainable sources to generate their energy in their effort to limit climate change. The phase out is needed no later than 2030 for countries in OECD and EU28, and no later than 2050 for the rest of the world.


The U.S

Due to the US pulling out of the Paris Agreement, the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance argued the country had no right to be involved in negotiations on how to implement the deal. However, an alternative “We Are Still In” delegation set up a large pavilion at their US Climate Action Centre just outside the main venue for the talks.

On day 2, Syria announced that it would sign the Paris Agreement meaning the US is the country standing alone in its stance on climate change.


It’s promising to see that positive outcomes are coming from COP and that countries are working together to tackle climate change. Let’s hope that, after next years COP24 in Poland, the Paris Agreement will be completely agreed so we can start building towards a greener planet.

An end to Fuel Poverty

Did you know that more than 30% of people in the UK say that they’re simply too scared to put their heating on through the fear of crippling fuel bills? Not only that, but a staggering 32% said that they will struggle to heat their homes this winter!

Here at Solarplicity, we’ve partnered with Community Energy England, to start a movement to try and end fuel poverty. How? By educating customers to switch away from the ‘Big Six’ UK energy providers and choose simply lower energy bills. What else we’re doing to help: a 1 million kWh give away to 100 of the UK’s most in need residents currently living in fuel poverty.

We’ve been lucky enough to have TV personality Sherrie Hewson involved in our movement. Sherrie wants to take action on the crisis this winter: “It is a major emotional drain for so many people to be faced with day in day out. More than half of us are concerned about someone in fuel poverty, making it more important to highlight the issue and help those most in need – particularly the older generation. I am proud to be supporting the movement from Solarplicity and Community Energy England by helping spread awareness of the help that is available to those struggling this year.”

Households are considered to be in fuel poverty if they have to spend more than 10% of their household income on fuel just to keep their home in an adequate condition. Thus leaving them with a residual income below the official poverty line. Many often have a monthly worry finding themselves facing a fuel poverty “crisis” depending on how much money they have earned that month. Unsurprisingly, the emotional impact that comes with the burden has resulted in many feeling unhappy and even depressed when they receive a heating bill.

As mentioned above, as part of our ongoing mission to end fuel poverty, we are giving away 1 million kWh of energy to those most in need in the UK, in partnership with Community Energy England. We’re working with the charity to identify 100 elderly individuals, who are in fuel poverty and who need our help. The 100 people chosen will receive free energy through solar installations… meaning that their energy worries are over!

As part of the campaign, you’ll see things like dancing nans and even upside down baking! So, keep an eye on our Solarplicity social media pages over the coming weeks – and see how we’re tackling fuel poverty this winter.

COP23 – UN Climate Change Conference 2017


In 2015, at the COP21 conference, the Paris Agreement was formed. With 195 signed parties, the agreement was put in place to address the growing concern around climate change, with each member planning and monitoring their own measures to reduce the rise in global temperature.

Since then, COP22 – held in Marrakech, Morocco – came and went with little to no progress being made. Overshadowed by the impending withdrawal of a Donald Trump-led USA, it was then agreed that the details of the agreement would be completed by 2018, with a progress check in 2017. Between 6th – 17th November 2017, the “progress check”, otherwise known as COP23 will be held in Bonn, Germany.

Leading up to the conference, the focus has been on multiple cases of extreme weather around, causing devastation to millions, including in Fiji who will run the conference (although the event takes place in Bonn for logistical reasons).

As set in the Paris agreement, the overall aim is to meet the goal of keeping rises in global temperature to below 2°C. In order to facilitate productive talks, Fiji has renamed the process to “talanoa dialogue”, which comes from a Pacific mantra of using storytelling and talking as a way to make good decisions.


Talking points

There are a couple of topics to look out for at COP23 which we have summarised below:


1. Compensation for developing nations

A divisive subject, but there will be discussions over the idea of loss and damage to developing nations being compensated by Western countries. Many have claimed that the West has developed over the years irresponsibly, and the effects are one of the causes for natural disasters that often impact developing nations with little means to defend against them. However, this concept has been continuously rebuffed and remains a sticking point in negotiations.


2. Insurance

As a counter offer so to speak, the Western nations have offered cheap insurance for poorer nations to protect themselves during extreme weather.


3. The U.S

As we all know, The U.S have controversially pulled out of the agreement and this has caused concern amongst other members. The U.S are one of the biggest polluters and the richest nation that contributes to the funding of action against climate change. Without their involvement, many have been concerned about how this may impact progress. However, others see the positives, in that by their withdrawal, they can serve to motivate the remaining 195 parties to work harder to reach their target. Although they have activated their withdrawal clause, The U.S must wait until 2020 until they officially play no part. Until then, they will be able to take part in conferences and talks, and President Trump has planned to promote fossil fuel and nuclear power in Bonn.


4. Carbon footprint at COP23

With 12,000 people from all over the world expected to turn out for the event, a lot of whom are flying, there was a concern that the conference would leave a large carbon footprint. However, there have been plans to offset these emissions put in place – for example the electric buses will pick up and take delegates to the conference. UN certified schemes for small island states will also help offset unavoidable emissions.


We will provide updates from COP23, where the hope is that world leaders can bring the agreement together so that the planet’s future can be brighter, greener and more sustainable.

Small change, big improvement


To better serve our customers, as of October 30th our contact centre opening hours are changing to:

  • Monday-Friday:          9:00am – 5:30pm
  • Saturday:                   9:00am – 1:00pm

You may be wondering, why shorten our opening hours when we have such high customer demand? It’s a good question – and here’s the answer.

We’ve been looking into when customers have called us over the past six months and we found that almost 90% of our incoming calls are between 9:00am-5.30pm. This is very significant. With a similar situation being the case on Saturdays, we needed to react to better serve our customer base.


Take a look at the graphic above, which shows average customer call waiting time in May this year, versus average customer waiting time in July this year.

In such a short period of time we reduced our call wait time drastically. So, we already know we have the capability (not to mention the outstanding team) to provide customer service that’s second to none. Now, with customer demand on the rise, we want to make sure we keep heading in the right direction.

Amending our opening hours allows us to have a higher number of expert staff working through the busier periods of the day. We don’t want you spending your precious time waiting on hold, we want you to have the shortest wait time possible. And don’t expect to be waiting until the next eclipse for that email response, we’ve got you covered, you will receive a response into your inbox in no time at all! And remember, when our telephone contact centre is closed, you can still manage your account online through our online portal. Not signed up yet? Register here now!

A small change that’ll make a big improvement: from October 30th, our commitment to customer service will continue to make great strides forward.


Renewable Energy: What you should expect


When choosing an energy supplier, there are certain things that people look out for to help decide from the many options. Many would opt to base their choice on online reviews that scrutinise the company’s customer service or many may simply go with the most established supplier for peace of mind. However, these days, an increasing number of people are basing their decision on the green credentials of the supplier. If you are one of these people, you may need to look a bit deeper to get a full picture of how green the supplier really is.

With many new entrants on the scene, the renewable energy market has now become more competitive with suppliers promising their customers that by choosing them they will be helping the planet with 100% renewable energy. The demand for renewable energy was once attributed to a small sector where you would find the ‘environmental activist’ type, but the appeal is undoubtedly spreading to standard households and the prices for renewable energy seem to be decreasing all the time.  However, are some customers being misled?

To be sure you are getting the right product; we have highlighted a few things to look out for when choosing your renewable energy supplier:

1. Fuel Mix

Every October all energy suppliers are obliged to publish their fuel mix. This states exactly where their energy comes from and accounts for all the energy that is put into the grid, so even if you are on a green tariff you need to check your supplier’s fuel mix to gauge how green they really are. You should find any supplier’s latest fuel mix on their website.

2. Renewable Energy Certificates

Any renewable energy supplier will possess certificates that prove that 1 MWh was produced from an eligible renewable source. There are two main types:

  • Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGO)

REGO certificates aim to provide transparency in the market to consumers who want to know where their energy comes from. Administered by Ofgem, they are used by suppliers to meet the Fuel Mix Disclosure in their supply licenses. Whilst designed to provide transparency, it can be misleading as REGOs can be traded and bought, which only serves to prove that the energy was produced, rather than demonstrate that the supplier has had a direct involvement in that generation. REGOs and their European equivalent were described as “more or less virtual” and only “state that somewhere else in Europe, renewable energy has been produced.” by Jorg Muhlenhoof – the Renewables Coordinator at BEUC – highlighting further how consumers could be misinformed.

  • Renewable Obligation Certificate (ROC)

The Renewable Obligation is designed by the government to support large scale generators of renewable energy by obligating suppliers to purchase a certain portion of their energy from these generators. For a lot of suppliers including the big six, the certificates represent nothing more than an obligation that they must meet and the certificates serve as an incentive for the generator as opposed to the supplier.

3. Feed-in Tariff (FIT)

A FIT is a tariff designed to allow consumers to generate their own energy, receiving a payment from their supplier for their troubles. Designed to promote investment into small-scale renewable generation, the FIT rewards those who can install technologies such as solar, hydro or wind at their premises. A supplier must be licensed by Ofgem to provide a FIT option, although they are obliged to offer it if they have over 250,000 customers. For those suppliers who have less customers than that, it is an optional scheme which they will opt in to if renewable energy generation is part of their business model. A renewable energy supplier who does not participate will likely be too small to afford the administration costs.

4. Own Generation

The last thing to check for is if a supplier has their own means of generation. With ROCs and REGOs, the incentive has increased for suppliers to purchase energy from renewable sources, but there are suppliers who have actually invested in the development of renewable sites in the UK, further demonstrating their commitment to green energy. Although this is by no means something you should expect, it holds great appeal to the consumers who want to make sure they are doing as much as they can to lower their carbon footprint.

According to our 2015/2016 Fuel Mix, Solarplicity (formerly LoCO2 Energy) is 100% renewable and possess more REGOs from our own generation and third-party generators than we supplied into the grid. We also offer a FIT tariff despite having less than 250,000 customers as the investment into renewable projects – whatever the scale – is important to us.

Be sure to ask your current or prospective supplier for this information so that you are better placed to know how much they are helping the planet.

Tenants save up to £192M a year on energy

  • Department for International Trade helps secure £160 million of capital expenditure into UK renewable energy backed by Dutch investors
  • Investment will unlock £1 billion solar panel installation programme that will result in annual energy savings of up to £192m for 800,000 households

International Trade Minister Greg Hands today welcomed £160 million of capital expenditure into UK renewable energy backed by Dutch investors, the first step in a £1 billion programme to give over 800,000 poorer households access to cheap solar electricity. The investment from Maas Capital (part of the ABN AMRO Bank), secured thanks to Department for International Trade (DIT) support, will help fund solar panels from UK firm Solarplicity to produce electricity for affordable housing across England and Wales. The scheme will see Solarplicity partner with social housing providers to install panels on their housing stock, creating a Community Energy Scheme where tenants benefit from long-term guaranteed discounts on their bills. Around 100,000 households will receive panels in the next 18 months, and 800,000 in the next five years. The panels will be free to social housing tenants, reducing their energy bills by an average of £240 a year, saving up to £192 million in total, with 100% renewable electricity. The deal will also create over 1,000 new jobs to install and maintain the panels. Many of these jobs will go to veterans from the armed forces, as Solarplicity helps re-train them into new maintenance careers. Speaking from a social housing development in Ealing, West London, where new solar panels are being installed, Minister Hands said: “After a record year for new foreign investment into the UK, this initial £160 million capital expenditure program will deliver massive benefits to some of the UK’s poorest households. As well as creating 1,000 jobs and delivering cheaper energy bills for up to 800,000 homes, it shows yet another vote of confidence in the UK as a place to invest and do business.” Participating homes are spread throughout the country, with more than 40 social landlords involved including local authorities. Tenants in the North West will be the biggest beneficiaries with over 290,000 homes receiving solar panels in towns like Oldham and Bradford, followed by the North East and Midlands, with 184,000 and 154,000 homes from Leeds to Derby. Greg Hands visited the Neville Close retirement housing site in West London, managed by the London Borough of Ealing where Solarplicity was installing solar panels. Social landlords across London who join the scheme will see up to 83,000 homes in the city benefit from cheaper energy bills. The announcement follows a record year for foreign investment into the UK, with over 2,200 new projects in the last year including 53 from the Netherlands. UK renewable energy was a major beneficiary, with 87 new projects creating almost 3,000 new jobs.

David Elbourne, CEO, Solarplicity

“Today’s announcement is a reflection of our exciting growth in the energy market, backed by international capital investment through DIT. Solarplicity is committed to reducing energy bills for both solar and non-solar customers. Equipping them with the latest smart technologies, and 100% renewable energy, they are guaranteed to save with our Fair Market Price.”

Pieter Smit, Investment Director: Maas Capital said:

‘This transaction is a prime example of how we support our partners in their ambitions towards creating a more sustainable future and to further accelerate the energy transition.’

Cllr Julian Bell, Leader of Ealing Council said:

“We have delivered renewable energy to 500 council homes since 2010 as part of our ongoing commitment to alleviating fuel poverty and reducing carbon emissions in the borough. Today’s announcement secures further significant investment in renewable energy for homes. “Helping residents save money and energy will always be a priority for the council, and investing in cleaner, renewable, sources helps us do just that.”

Notes to Editors

  • The Department for International Trade’s Capital Investment team works with UK companies to match them with foreign investors, helping unlock new projects in the UK.
  • DIT supported introduced Solarlicity’s programme of social housing solar panels to overseas investors and facilitated strategic discussions between Solarplicity and Maas Capital
  • Energy savings are compared to the average of the standard variable tariff of the UK’s Big 6 energy suppliers

Solar energy during a total eclipse

Tonight, at approximately 19:30 local time, parts of the world will gather to catch a glimpse of the solar eclipse.

Here in the UK, we will only see a partial eclipse, with the full-blown total eclipse occurring over the US and parts of South America. Nevertheless, the moment in time when the Moon deprives us a view of the Sun never fails to fascinate, but it’s also worth considering if and how this impacts solar energy…


On average, a total eclipse lasts 2 minutes and 40 seconds. Throughout this time, there will be no energy generated by solar power. California produces the most solar energy in the US and, during the eclipse, it’s estimated that there will be a 4.2 gigawatts deficit.

To put this into context, that is enough to power over 400 million LED bulbs!


Speaking of which, energy efficient lightbulbs are just one of the suggestions being made by California Public Utilities Commission as part of their campaign ‘Do your thing for the Sun’.  The campaign is designed to ask consumers for their energy saving ideas on the day of the eclipse to compensate for the drop in solar generation.


And what about the impact of the eclipse for off-grid energy users?

For those who have solar installations at their homes, they will experience a drop off in power during the eclipse should they have no storage available. However with time to prepare, they should have no problem in dealing with this.


So, in a nutshell, a total eclipse does impact solar energy, but nothing approaching catastrophic. In fact, the hope is that it could lead to consumers having a more efficient mentality going forward.


Oh, and you may be wondering when the next total eclipse will be visible from the UK; with the last coming in 1999, the next is not forecast for another 73 years. There will be, however, a very large partial eclipse in August 2026, which the solar industry is already planning for. So, plenty of time to prepare, and it does makes you wonder how prominent solar energy could be in the UK by then…


Read more about the eclipse here