Looking for the Community Energy Scheme?

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.

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

Project Nexus: Annoying. But necessary

Project Nexus is an important industry wide update that will be starting in May 2017. During this time, new customers may find that their gas switch will take slightly longer than usual, as energy companies are not able to communicate with the gas industry as normal. This slight disruption is annoying, but in the long run, customers will find it much easier to switch suppliers.

What is Project Nexus?

Project Nexus is an initiative to replace the UK Link System for energy settlement, meter administration and other functions for the whole gas market. So what does this mean? In the long run Project Nexus will help:

  • Customers to receive more accurate billing, which in turn allows for energy companies to offer more competitive prices
  • Support the smart meter roll out giving advance meter readings
  • Customers will find it easier to switch as we will be able to talk to the gas industry more efficiently.

This will only affect customers who are choosing to switch gas providers between the 20th May and 6th June, who may find that their start of supply date for gas is affected. This necessary change will cause a small delay but we will process things as quickly as possible to ensure as smooth a switch as possible at the earliest convenience.

If you have already switched to Solarplicity, this will not affect you. This will also not affect our current customers.

In the meantime, if you need any advice on how your switch is going, please email us at theteam@solarplicity.com

Trust the Energy Saving Trust

Since its inception in 1992, the Energy Saving Trust (EST) has been devoted to promoting energy efficiency, energy conservation and the sustainable use of energy. As an independent, not-for-profit organization funded both by government and the private sector, there are few more trustworthy voices. So it’s good to see that they continue to highlight the benefits of solar electricity every chance they get!

On the Energy Saving Trust website, they’re currently highlighting all the benefits of switching to solar – which are many and varied. In particular, they focus on…

  1. Cutting electricity bills – after all, as the EST puts it, ‘sunlight is free’
  2. Get paid for the electricity you generate – here the Energy Saving Trust mention the government’s Feed-in Tariff… which pays you for the electricity you generate, even if you use it
  3. Sell it back to the grid – this is another huge selling point, with the EST pointing out that if you’re producing more electricity than you need, you can sell it back to the grid through the Feed-in Tariff scheme
  4. Going green – cutting your carbon footprint is good news for the planet, and with a typical home solar PV system you’ll save over a tonne and a half of carbon dioxide every single year

Plenty of reasons to choose solar… and all coming from a truly TRUSTworthy source.