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Electric Cars: Will They Ever Catch On? $TSLA $AONE

A perennial problem of electric cars is that introducing them on a broad scale via private companies is that a chicken and egg scenario is encountered; potential owners don’t want to buy the cars until there are plenty of charging points available, and potential charging-point companies can’t get any serious investment until there is sufficient demand. Some cars even have solar panels, but the power provided by them is – at the moment – rather insignficant. In 2011, the UK government launched a £5,000 grant scheme, paying thousands of pounds to the newest owners of these energy efficient vehicles. However, with the issue of “range anxiety”, as popularised in the car review program ‘Top Gear’, owners weren’t hasty to take up the government’s seemingly-generous offer. The Department for Transport’s figures show 465 sold in Q1 of 2011, and a depressing 215 further electric vehicle sales in Q2 of the same year – figures, unsurprisingly, have been delayed for Q3. Studies have shown that the majority of electric car charging would be happening at home, but even with a grant for the cars, who would want one if they couldn’t drive any distance on a slightly more adventurous trip?

Recently, it has been announced that a Boris-backed recharging network will be introduced across London. This will consist of 216 charging points across London, so hopefully when this is coupled with the grant scheme, the chickens and eggs can be introduced at the same time! Private companies are also slowly starting to invest – Ecotricity, supposedly a national scheme, have 12 charging points. More excitingly, the Manchester Electric Car Company are building 300 points up North, and Chargemaster currently have 150 points in place across the country, with plans for a further 3,850 by the start of 2013.

For the full privatisation of electric cars to be a success, and for them to achieve a real degree of popularity, it’ll be necessary that any government funding is used to address issues surrounding incompatibility between different companies’ systems, and to ensure there is sufficient investment in place in a broad infrastructure to make electricity as available as widely as possible, and so it can start to approach petrol as a viable alternative.

Original Article on TalkSolarPanels.co.uk

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What is the Green Deal?

With increasing press coverage, there are increasing rumours (and confusion) as to what the Green Deal is, and which industries it’ll cover. The Energy Bill was introduced in Parliament on the 8th of December, 2010, which included the Green Deal itself.

The goal of the programme is to “revolutionise the efficiency of British properties” according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change website. How will the government achieve this? The answer is through a framework to encourage households and businesses to buy energy efficiency measures from private companies. Those wishing to install energy efficiency improving measures will be able to buy products such as loft insulation not as an up-front payment, but instead in a monthly format through their bills.

However, the golden rule tying this all together is that the savings made on each bill must be greater than the ongoing cost of a loan to buy the home improvements. This means that there will be minimal cost to the government, but there is already a lot of criticism in place, such as a recent article in the Guardian, saying that the “market level of interest” as decided by the government, will make a crucial impact on the scheme, and could make many products unaffordable through the scheme.

Currently, no firm decision has been made as to which industries will be covered by the Green Deal. The DECC have included loft, cavity and solid wall insulation as an example on their website, with no mention of double glazing or boilers, although both of those industries have members lobbying the government. It would seem logical that these further methods of decreasing emissions should be covered – the example of external solid wall insulation costs approximately £10,000 and only saves around £400 per year, whereas the Energy Saving Trust state that replacing a very old boiler could save £300, but at a cost closer to £3,000. With the target being for the installations of energy improvements to start from March 2012, it’ll be interesting to see the impact it has on demand for insulation (which we also can provide, along with solar panels – phone us if you’re interested), so keep reading and you’ll see reports here.

Original Article on TalkSolarPanels.co.uk