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£35 Million Solar Panel Plan to be Given Green Light

Lark Energy, a leading green energy company in the UK, is planning to install 120,000 solar panels, which would produce enough energy power for up to 7,000 homes across Leicestershire.

The energy company has submitted plans for a £35 million solar project on a 150-acre site near Loughborough, Leicestershire, the BBC has reported.   The project would be the biggest solar farm in the UK to be built, meaning more contracts for the renewable energy sector and new jobs to be created.

Lark’s managing director, Jonathan Selwyn, said construction work could take place later this year if Charnwood Borough Council approved the project. Local residents have welcomed the proposal, expressing enthusiasm as it will generate electricity from renewable sources and will help the environment.

Mr Selwyn said the farm will not take long to build, a maximum of 5 months, it will convert daylight into electricity which would then be sold to a power company and distributed through the national grid.

He said: “This will be 25 to 30 megawatts so it will be quite big but it will not be intrusive. There will not be reflection because the panels are designed to absorb the light rather than reflect it.”

Mr Selwyn explained that there are no real on-going costs for maintaining the solar panels whilst there are many benefits for the environment to obtain energy from daylight.

“Daylight is free, easily accessible and it is unlimited unlike fuels like gas and coal which will become increasingly scarce and, therefore, more expensive.”- Mr Selwyn added.

Charnwood borough councillor Jenny Bokor told the Leicester Mercury that she welcomed the proposed investment of £35 million. It would generate environmentally friendly energy for the needs of local residents and people across Leicestershire.

Ms Bokor said: “I think this is a really good idea. There are 1,500 homes in all the Wolds villages and this could more than meet their needs.

“I am sure there will be some people who will object but I am in favour of making use of the land to create energy.”

Chairman of Wymeswold Parish Council, Nick Shaw, said the project is a very good idea because it will not make any noise or create pollution.


What is your opinion about installing more solar panels in the UK? Why do you think renewable energy is becoming increasingly popular? Does it mean better employment opportunities for you?  Let us know what you are thinking on the Train4TradeSkills’ Facebook and Twitter pages:



The Solar PV Debate and FiT Cuts: Why it’s not all doom and gloom for the solar industry

The announcement from the government at the beginning of November that the government will slash solar subsidies by more than half shocked the solar industry, as many businesses panicked that it was the end of the solar industry as we know it and it would destroy businesses.

But it’s not all doom and gloom, according to a boss of a solar panel firm that Train4TradeSkills News spoke to.

UK Climate Change and Energy Minister Greg Barker confirmed on October 31 that from 12 December, Feed-In Tariffs for solar power would be cut from the 43.3p/kWh to 21p/kWh, because of a skyrocketing demand for solar panels.

Mr Barker said at the time: “The plummeting costs of solar mean we’ve got no option but to act so that we stay within budget and not threaten the whole viability of the FITs scheme.”

“Although I fully realise that adjusting to the new lower tariffs will be a big challenge for many firms, it won’t come as a surprise.”

This decision sparked anger from solar firms, who were annoyed at the prospect of not making as much money from solar installations.

But the decision is not all doom and gloom for the solar industry, as not only was it expected (although it did come into effect earlier than many had foreseen) but it was unsustainable in the first place.

Train4TradeSkills News spoke to the Managing Director of Solarwise Renewables, Roy Tomkinson, on student radio service Train4TradeSkills Radio, who said:

“Initially the jerk reaction is that it will affect the business but once you look at the calculations of the 43p return and then you escalate that up by the rate of inflation (at 5.4%) and you actually assume the money’s invested – the return to the householder goes down to about 5 years.

Bearing in mind the situation that our government is in, really it was an unsustainable situation to be in. I was expecting it to change, not as fast as it did, but it was expected. I did say to a number of people that this level of return is unsustainable in the long-term and it was due to go down on March 31st 2012, but obviously they have brought it forward. “

“Realistically speaking the tariffs were high anyway because the cost of installations have gone down in the last few years and the return on capital the householder gets, bearing in mind they’ve got to pay the cost of installation till the Green Deal comes in, it’s quite a good return on capital – there’s still about 6-7% return on capital for installation of solar panels.”

The latest news is that the government is considering phasing in the cut to solar power feed-in tariffs, so companies who have taken deposits from customers and cannot meet the deadline, have extra time to do the work at the current prices, before the cut comes into effect on 12 December.

The Telegraph reported last week that Greg Barker is considering this, and Train4TradeSkills News will keep you up to date with the latest developments.

What do you think of the Solar FIT cuts – are the government right to do it? Let us know what you think and share your thoughts by commenting below or on the Train4TradeSkills Facebook Page.



Train4TradeSkills Radio: Former Financial Services MD and now Head of Solarwise Renewables Roy Tomkinson talks about his T4TS Electrician course

Roy Tomkinson is training to become an electrician with Train4TradeSkills. Tom Jinks from Train4TradeSkills Radio spoke to the former Financial Services Director, writer and now head of a solar panel company to find out how his electrical course with Train4TradeSkills is going.

You can listen to Roy’s Interview from Train4TradeSkills Radio at or via AudioBoo at

You can visit Roy’s website at

Train4TradeSkills News: Solar power gets thumbs-up in new report

A new report has revealed that solar heating systems can provide over half of households hot water needs.

The year-long report from the Energy Saving Trust, which was the largest ever field trial of green energy devices, looked at 88 homes and found that solar energy provided up to 60% of the household’s hot water needs, which is much higher than the expected figure of 35-40%.

The median value was that solar water heating systems created 39% of a households water, and the lowest figure was 9%, but that was if the systems were installed incorrectly.

This is great news for solar projects, as it shows that using the sun’s energy to heat the water works in UK homes and can hopefully persuade more homes to get involved. 140,000 homes in the UK currently use solar water heating in their homes.

The Energy Saving Trust’s Jaryn Bradford said in a statement: “This is a technology that works, and works well in the UK” and that it all depended how well insulated the home’s hot water tank and pipes were. The better installed they are, the greater impact solar power can have.

Founder and CEO of Good Energy, Juliet Davenport, agrees and said: “This pioneering research demonstrates that households with solar hot water generators really can benefit provided their generator has been correctly installed and they understand how to make the most of it.”

And that’s why renewable energy is such a popular area, as not only are you helping the planet but with more and more people using renewable methods and the number of government initiatives, there is a demand for renewable energy installers.

That’s why Train4TradeSkills have launched a brand new Renewable energy course to allow you to train and become a fully-qualified Renewable Energy Installer. To find out more about the course, just head on over to


Train4TradeSkills News: Renewable Energy use hits all-time high

The amount of renewable energy projects has hit an all-time high and is contributing more than ever before to the UK’s electricity supply.

New statistics from the Department of Energy and Climate Change have revealed that green energy has seen a 50% rise in the last year.

Wind energy has seen the biggest rise, increasing by 120% in the last year due to the rise in the number of offshore wind farms and biomass power plants.

This was followed by hydroelectricity, which grew by 75% and then nuclear energy, which grew by 38%.

This all means that renewable electricity makes up 9.6% of the UK’s grid mix, the highest it has ever been.

It all means that plumbers and electricians who want to take advantage of the popularity of renewable energy and work on renewable, and solar projects, need to be properly qualified.

That’s why Plumbers’ merchant Plumb Center have urged plumbers to get their MCS (Mircrogeneration Certification Scheme) accreditation if they want to work on renewable projects and solar panels.

We have also launched a brand new renewable energy course, so you can get MCS-accredited and train to be a renewable energy installer.

For more information head on over to  and watch the video below:


Train4TradeSkills News: Sheffield wins Britain’s renewable crown

Sheffield has been named as the UK’s solar hot spot for being the city that has embraced renewable energy the most.

A report from Which? Magazine has listed the top ten hotspots for renewable energy in the UK, with Sheffield coming out on top, as the city increased its renewable energy capacity to 3.5kW electrical per 1000 people.

HVP Magazine reports that it’s all down to the government’s Feed In Tariffs initiative, which has popularised small-scale renewable energy projects over the last 18 months, resulting in 400% growth and jobs for contractors specialising in renewable energy.

And it turns out that Sheffield has made the best progress over the last year, finishing top of the list. The other cities that make the list include Leeds, Liverpool, London and Bristol.

As renewable energy becomes more popular and the Government’s Green Deal kicks in, more homeowners will make their homes more energy efficient and use things like solar panels and cavity wall insulation.

This will of course create more jobs for contractors who specialise in renewable energy. While Sheffield leads the way at the moment, other cities in the UK will likely catch up in the near future.

Train4TradeSkills has recently launched a brand new renewable energy course. To find out more go to


Train4TradeSkills News: Lock, Stock and 200 Solar Panels

Usually when a home decides to “go green” or eco-friendly it’s celebrated (well you know what I mean – people don’t usually complain), but when a celebrity does it, there could be a bit of backlash, as Guy Ritchie has found out,

The film director, 42, who is most famous for his films Lock Stock, Snatch and Rock n Rolla, wants to transform his £9 million country estate, which he bought with ex-wife Madonna in 2001, and place 200 solar panels in a field near his home, according to the Daily Mail.

These 200 solar panels would completely power Mr Ritchie’s home and make the property much more eco-friendly. The other benefit would that it would create a tax break, which means the director could receive up to 10% returns.

But some people don’t see it that way, as government ecologist Louisa Kilgallen has reportedly complained about the plans, saying:

‘The erection of solar panels would cause disturbance during the construction phase, reduce the area available for chalk grassland plants and invertebrates, increase the risk of weed species colonising in the vicinity of the development and cause disturbance during the decommissioning period.”

You can’t please some people it seems. Wiltshere County Council are currently debating the matter, after Ritchie applied for planning permission last month.

What do you think about this story? Let us know your thoughts and comment below, or on the Train4TradeSkills Facebook and Twitter pages.


Train4TradeSkills News: Old homes go green with pilot Green Deal scheme

For the government’s Green Deal scheme to work, older homes are going to need to be made energy-efficient, not just new homes. But the only way this is going to be successful is by keeping the costs down. That’s why the government is sponsoring a new initiative to make 40-year old homes eco-friendly.

Construction News reports that Wilmott Dixon will lead the pilot for the first older homes to be made energy-efficient under the Green Deal. In a group consisting of South Cambridgeshire Council, PRP Architects, ACCE Solutions and Cambridge University, 13 homes will be retrofitted to see how much energy they can save

All of the homes involved in the pilot scheme are over 40 years old, built between 1956 and 1970. £320,000 worth of energy-saving measures will be installed in the homes, which included better insulation, boilers and solar panels.

ACCE Solutions will then monitor the homes over the next two years to see how much money is saved in fuel costs.

If this proves to be successful, then the government can use this model and roll it out to the masses when the Green Deal launches next year, albeit a cheaper version, as no one is going to pay over £300k from their own pocket to make their home energy efficient.

Willmott Dixon Partnerships managing director Mick Williamson has said: “This project will give us important data in what measures have a real impact on energy use.”

“Buildings account for more than 40 per cent of the UK’s carbon emissions and almost three quarters of the buildings standing today will still be in use in 2050, so the government’s Green Deal is targeting reducing existing homes’ emissions.”

What do you think – will this work? Let us know and comment below…

T4TS Radio: Danny talks about his plumbing course

Danny Wicks is training to become a plumber with Train4TradeSkills. Tom Jinks from Train4TradeSkills Radio spoke to Danny to see how he was getting on.

You can listen to Danny’s story from Train4TradeSkills Radio at and download to iTunes via the AudioBoo app at

Here’s the interview in full, which you can read and download from Scribd:

Government to force companies to accept the green revolution

A Parliamentary bill that forces companies to cut their carbon emissions and offer financial incentives up to £6000 to encourage homeowners to go green has been submitted.

The Guardian reports that the coalition-backed policy has been submitted to parliament and promises to enforce legal obligations on power companies to cut greenhouse gas emissions in customers’ homes. The policy, named the Energy security and green economy Bill, aims to help the government fulfill their targets of reducing carbon emissions by 20% in the next few years.

As part of the bill, the government will offer homeowners incentives to go green and install eco-friendly and energy saving improvements in their home, such as solar panels and cavity wall insulation. These “incentives” range from holiday’s abroad, rebates on council tax bills and £6000 loans to encourage homeowners to install energy-saving devices in their home.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change and it’s secretary of state Chris Huhne are behind the plans, as are companies like Tesco, B&Q and Marks & Spencer. Their research indicates that 14 million UK homes would benefit from cavity, solid wall or loft insulation, which is half of the homes in the country.

This scheme, if passed through Parliament, will not only see the UK drastically reduce its carbon emissions and help and encourage homeowners to go green, but it will create potentially thousands (if not millions) of new jobs for plumbers, electricians and gas engineers, as millions of homes will have to be renovated with energy-saving features.

What do you think of the government’s plans – are you going to make the shift to green energy?