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Is Renewable Energy for You?


As solar panels become a common sight around our neighbourhoods, you may be wondering what options are available to you to save or even generate your own energy, but it can be daunting knowing where to start. At Trading Standards we want to help you find a trader you can trust and make sure you know what you can expect of these businesses.


When considering the options available to you, the Energy Saving Trust, www.energysavingtrust.org.uk, is a good place to start. It is an independent organisation that provides free, expert advice on saving energy in your home. Their website contains extensive information, and they also have a helpline on 0300 1231234 (national rate).


In terms of funding any improvements, if you aren’t able to pay for them up front, you could consider the Government’s Green Deal Scheme, www.gov.uk/green-deal-energy-saving-measures, which allows for repayment over a period of time through your energy bills. As with any finance arrangement, make sure you know how much you will have to repay in total, what the monthly charges will be and check that the interest rate is competitive with other finance options. You should also be aware that with Green Deal the debt attaches to the property, so if you sell it, your buyer will have to take over the debt. If you need advice on finance options, your local Citizens Advice Bureau will be able to help you.


There are a range of businesses that offer home assessment visits to advise you on the options most suitable for your specific circumstances. You will usually need to pay for these and you should check whether there is a tie-in clause requiring you to use a certain business to do the installation work if you decide to go ahead. The assessment will give you estimated savings projections for the first year based on a specific level of energy usage. Unfortunately this means you won’t know exactly what you will save, but you can at least check to make sure the estimate is based on a realistic level of energy usage for your situation.


In terms of finding a trader, it is important to shop around to ensure that the business is reputable and the price fair before agreeing to any work. Green Deal has its own approved assessors and installers, but if you are not using Green Deal we would recommend that you find an installer and products that are part of the Micro Generation Certification Scheme (MCS) or are Renewable Energy Assurance


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