Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Solar Panels come in all shapes & sizes, but which is the best?

There are a wide variety of solar panel systems that differ in size, material and shape. So for a novice all this information can be overwhelming when considering solar for your home/commercial property. Obviously all these different factors will affect the amount of electricity you produce, how much you save and how much you will earn on RHI or feed-in-tariffs.

Sizes

Solar Panel size often depends on how big/small your roof is. Although you can opt for smaller panels on a large roof if the price of a big system blows your budget. Installers will refer to the size of the panel by the amount of kilowatts it produces. Here are some examples:

                            2 kW System                                                                  3 kW System                         

Typically, 8x250 Watt Panels,
Covering approximately 11sqm
of clear roof space
Estimated Cost: £3,000-£4000
Estimated Output: 1,700 kW p/a
Estimated CO2 saved over 25 years: 20 (tonnes) 
Total Benefit (Year 1) £375.00
Total profit made on panels: £3,800
Typically, 12x250 Watt Panels,
Covering approximately 17sqm
of clear roof space

Estimated Cost: £4000-£6000
Estimated Output: 
2,550k kW p/a
Estimated CO2 saved over 25 years: 30 (tonnes)
Total Benefit (Year 1) £534.00
Total profit made on panels: £5,635











                                                                                                         

                                                                     4 kW System 

Typically, 16x250 Watt Panels,
Covering approximately 22 sqm
of clear roof space
Estimated Cost: £6000-£8000
Estimated Output: 3,400 kW p/a
Estimated CO
2 saved over 25 years: 40 (tonnes)
Total Benefit (Year 1): £750.00
Total profit made on panels: £6,750
Those are some fantastic numbers. The extra £6,750 in your back pocket will definitely come in handy, not to mention all the money you will SAVE on the panels as well. The profit is just coming from the feed-in-tariff, also as an added bonus it will cushion you against sky rocketing energy bills (which seems to be happening a lot these days.)

Types of Solar Panels

There are number of different types of solar panel, from an ever increasing range of manufacturers. Each claims that they are best for one reason or another, with different sales people all giving different information. This blog will help you distinguish which type of panel is best suited for you! The two main types you will most likely come across are:




Monocrystalline 

The solar cells in monocrystalline are aligned in one direction, which means that when the sun is shining brightly on them at the correct angle, they are extremely efficient. So, these panels work best in bright sunshine with the sun shining directly on them. They have a uniform blacker colour because they are absorbing most of the light.

Pure cells are octagonal, so there is unused space in the corners when lots of cells are made into a solar module. Mono mono panels are slightly smaller than poly panels for the same power, but this is only really noticeable on industrial scale installations where you may be able to fit a higher overall power with monocrystalline.



Polycrystalline                     

Polycrystalline panels are made up to form blocks and create a cell made up of several bits of pure crystal. Because the individual crystals are not all perfectly aligned together and there are losses at the joints between them, they are not quite as efficient as Monocrystalline. However, this misalignment can help in some circumstances, because the cells work better from light at all angles in low light. For this reason, I would say that polycrystalline is slightly better suited to the UK’s duller conditions, but the difference is marginal.

The only other difference they have to the Monocrystalline is that you can see the random crystal arrangement and the panels look a little bluer as they reflect some of the light.



The Best One
Photo Credit: Michael Coghlan

To conclude the best solar panel is entirely down to what suits you the best be it size or type. After reading through this blog you should be able to set aside the confusion from all the sellers that have bombarded you with misinformation; now knowing there isn't much difference between Polycrystalline and Monocrystalline. 

If I were to leave my last bit of advice it would be IGNORE All Black Solar Panels! Why? Because they don't get the same reflective light that the cells need and get from the Poly and Mono AND also avoid Hybrid Solar panels. Why? Because they are ridiculously expensive and outweigh any chance of making your money back and you just generate the same amount of electricity. 

So stick to your Polycrystalline and Monocrystalline my dear Sirs and Madams, I bid you adieu.

Want to get FREE quotes for Polycrystalline and Monocrystalline panels? Use our free database to find the best solar panel installers in your area! Just put in your contact details and we'll ring up and give you their best quotes, simple! Free Quotes herehttp://www.solarpanelquoter.co.uk/?s_eng=blog

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Can I get insurance for my Solar Panels?

With Solar Panels reaching an estimated 500,000 installs across the UK this year and the new government RHI feed-in-tariff people really are making the most of the investment that is renewable technology. It's spreading across the media like wildfire with new innovations in solar, Germany running on 50% renewable energy and even coming to popular UK supermarkets such as Ikea.

However, we haven't heard much about the complications of insuring them. Solar Panels are a serious bit of kit costing from £6000-£9000 you would hope to get some sort of insurance on them as they are supposed to last you up to 20 years. If you are thinking about having solar panels fitted in the near future, it is well worth finding out more about how and where to insure them before you start.

Coverage on Building Insurance policy


Unfortunately in some cases you won't be covered under this policy, its all down to which insurance company you're with. The common response being is that owning solar panels is (in their eyes) much like running a business because you earn money off the feed-in-tariff. Annoying as that may be there are still alternatives so not to worry my lovelies!

I would advise you to take extra care and ask the insurance provider the right questions to ensure the policy is accepted before they solar panels are installed.

The Alternatives

If you aren't covered for solar panels on your policy then the only other thing to do is go to another insurance company. Although be wary, some companies charge an extra extravagant fee while others include them with no problems at all.

According to www.solarpanels.co.uk the following insurers that are more than happy to provide cover for solar panels on a buildings insurance policy are: 
Although one insurer, NFU has caused some trouble with home owners. Advertised on their website that solar panels isn't a problem when it comes to their building insurance policy when it came to talking over the phone some customers have found that they weren't able to receive cover. This could just be down to minor issues, don't lose all hope now!

More Tips

Overall the majority of home insurers are okay with insuring a house with solar panels. Although it is worth just giving your current provider a ring to check if your current policy is suitable for solar panels. If you find you wont be covered I suggest you ring round for quotes as it is best to get it straight from the horse's mouth!

I bid you adieu my dear Sirs and Madams

Friday, 8 August 2014

Technology in home furniture: what can we expect to see in the coming years?

Photo Credit: JD Hancock
We are currently in the midst of a the most technically advanced digital age we have ever been through and technological gadgets are now becoming increasingly common in all aspects of our everyday life, including the home. It’s not just the home, our furniture is joining the party. High tech gadgets are now becoming embedded in ordinary objects and whereas this was a fiction of the imagination of science fiction writers in the past, it is now happening for real.

We have gone and found furnishings which are both practical and visually appealing, some of these technologies are available now, whilst others will become prevalent in years to come. One thing that they have in common is that they’re extremely advances whilst being multifunctional and superbly practical at the same time.

With production methods now so advanced, and much more advanced than they have ever been, it really isn't hard to imagine a plethora of hybrid furniture which combines say, a tablet, and a plush leather recliner. And why not, if it can be made, it should be! We've travelled a long way since the trusty cup holder was a function that left people in shock, and very soon there will be technologies that don't even exist yet which are incorporated into our chairs, seats, tables, stools or worktops. But what can we expect, this blog will give you a taster of what might be around the corner:

Tabletop tablets




Already available from Hammacher, the coffee table touch screen turns the humble coffee table into a fully interactive and fully functioning windows 8 tablet, complete with its huge 32” touch screen. We imagine they will become more common over the next few years and they are very useful for people who want to look at photos or maps at the same time.

Not only is it a tablet, you can obviously place your coffee on it, or even eat of it. There is no need to worry about spillages due to the reinforced glass which is also equipped with an anti-glare filtering.

Slotted tech furniture




With the rise of iPads and other tablet brands, it’s only a matter of time before designers create furniture which incorporates slots so that they can sit upright, so we can easily view either a streamed television show or simultaneously browse the internet together with somebody else. No more will we have to perch our phones or tablets up against things, and this sort of feature could be included in almost any type of furniture you might find in the home.


The I-Sopod




It’s always ideal to find a place to relax that will put you in complete peace and take you away from the world. The I-sopod is designed to do just this. This bath is shaped just like a big round pod that opens and closes. When the tub is open, it lights up using the LED lights that are installed inside the base of the tub. Not only does it light up in captivating colours, it is also installed with an MP3 system so that you can completely chill out. The I-sopod is designed to come in a variety of colours to suit your preference. Will we be seeing more technology like this in the future?

The Light up Coffee Table




This table has been cleverly designed to interact with any movement on the table. It is designed with LED lighting that senses absolutely anything that touches the table. The lights are white and very bright, and it creates an effect that looks surreal and very pretty. The cord that connects the lighting is hidden well meaning there are no annoying wires all over the floor - it is also a very eco-friendly option.

Keyboard integrated chairs




In the digital age, the need for gadgets to be integrated in furniture has grown significantly, and this need has been answered by the ‘Origin’ ergonomic task chair. Its allows you to sit whilst offering a keyboard on either arm of the chair, you can therefore keep a good posture. The fully adjustable ‘Origin’ was built with your average office worker in mind and looks to prevent repetitive strain injuries whilst allowing the user to remain comfortable.


Tech-charging furniture




In the future we might see a rise in furniture which has built in charging facilities, allowing us to charge up our digital products whilst not taking up extra space with unsightly wires. Perfect for the minimalist, this furniture would allow us to power up whilst our devices remained hidden away in draws. This would be a great option for people who live in smaller spaces or those with one eye on technical developments.

Door handle with self-sterilization system



We've all been there, after going to the toilet, having to use the door handle which may be germ ridden. There has been rumours of a door handle which will eliminate this issue and just by touching the handle and opening the door, your hands will be sterilised. A very handy invention which could work in the home but would be especially handy in a public location.


The Cloud




Want to feel like you’re floating on a cloud when you relax? This design concept plays with idea of feeling on top of the clouds. This is a lounger chair  design that uses a magnetic field base that lies on the floor. The magnetic field is used to keep up a light and soft cushion shaped like a cloud. This levitating sofa could be the world’s favourite thing to sit back and relax on in the future!

Who really knows what the distant future really holds, the technologies we have included in this list are either currently in the prototype stage or are being rolled out soon by their designers. Whilst they might be on the higher end of the price range now, it wont be long before they are widespread and are incorporating all the technologies of the day. They will make our lives much easier from day to day whilst ensuring we are connected to the outside world and are able to continue living our online lives, or even carry on working.

This blog was written by Jennifer Smith for <a href=”http://conwyvalleyplumbing.co.uk/central-heating-installations/”>Conwy Valley Plumbing</a>, the premier provider of all your energy saving and bathroom installation services in the UK.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock

Friday, 25 July 2014

Beyond The Mains Newsletter

Hello all my dear Sirs and Madams! Today I would like to introduce you to a great service written by the same people on this blog, Beyond The Mains Newsletter.

It features articles much like what you find on this blog; and it's FREE. It regularly comes out every week ( a little more routine than this...) Featuring great little pieces from windows to renewable technologies, anything Home Improvement related, we do it! Keeping you fully updated on new technologies and government schemes, definitely worth the subscription.

Its perfect for home owners and business owners alike. Are you one of these? Well get clicking my dear.

To the sceptics out there don't worry, we aren't going to spam you or pass on your details. We just want to keep you, our readers entertained and informed, this is just another way of reaching you. I promise my dear Sirs and Madams, no gimmicks.

If you're interested then just click here! I will provide links below as well. Its free and all it will cost you is a click!



I bid you adieu my dear Sirs and Madams!

Friday, 18 July 2014

Are Biomass Boilers worth it?

Photo Credit: Pooja Chaphalkar
Biomass boilers offer a great heating solution that really does pay for itself and then some. Combined with the great savings to be made with biomass fuels and the government’s domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), it really does make sense to look at biomass for your home. It's an exciting bit of tech to get on and I strongly recommend it. As you can see from the picture on the right, it's not as big as you would expect.


First things first

Biomass boiler systems are not suitable for every property, small urban and suburban properties (especially flats) are highly unlikely to be able to accommodate a larger biomass boiler, hopper and buffer vessel, and are therefore better suited to other renewable energy technologies such as solar PV and solar thermal or even a wall mounted air source heat pump. Even with those urban and suburban properties that do have enough space for the biomass installations, there may still be access issues when it comes to taking delivery (and more importantly storage) of the wood fuel, normally delivered on a standard sized pallet.
Photo Credit: St├ęphanie Kilgast
For homes and businesses with the requisite space, however, biomass boilers are likely to be suitable and can provide substantial financial savings, as well as a significantly lower carbon footprint. Biomass systems with an output of 5kW to 500kW can be used in a variety of settings, both residential and commercial, from a small office building to large buildings such as hospitals, schools and prisons. Biomass boilers are also a particularly attractive option for properties with no mains gas supply.


Biomass Boiler

For those off-grid properties, biomass is a much cheaper fuel to run your heating on when compared to heating oil or Calor gas. Even when compared to heat pumps, the closest renewable competition, biomass generally wins.
While you can install a heat pump (air source or ground source), there is a difference when compared to biomass (heat pumps operate at much lower temperatures), which will mean that you will have to slightly change how you distribute your heat – by increasing the size of your radiators and / or consider installing underfloor insulation (the latter is not mandatory).
Therefore the big advantage over heat pumps is that you can install a biomass boiler with your existing radiators and hot water system as they operate at high temperature and do not require as big an output to provide the same volume of useful heat.
Even if you are on grid, you can still benefit from a biomass boiler – as long as you have the space and are not in a clean air zone (it is very restrictive to use in urban areas of London). Even comparing the cost of gas to biomass fuel can be favourable, especially when you factor in the RHI payments.

Insulation isn't as important?

As mentioned, heat pumps are the other way to get RHI funded heating, but because they produce lower grade heat, they don’t tend to work well with a traditional radiator system and you will probably need to install additional insulation to bring the heat demand right down to be worth it.  Insulation is cost effective if you have a cavity wall property, but if it is of solid wall construction then you will need to consider getting expensive insulation, and the costs will start to add-up.
Biomass has the added advantage of not needing a super insulated house – although we advise on always trying to get the best possible insulation. Where heat pumps rely on high quality insulation to function effectively, costing thousands of pounds, biomass will work well in any home, with just your basic loft and cavity wall insulation as always, recommended. In fact, you will actually get more money as part of the RHI when your property requires more heat to warm it – but loft and cavity, if recommended on the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), must be installed!

How much can I earn with Biomass on the RHI payments?

The RHI will pay you 12.2p/kWh and the amount you get will depend on the heat demand on your EPC. A typical property with a heat demand of about 20,000 kWh will receive more than £2,400 a year; or £17,500 over a 7 year period. That’s a lot of money and will cover the cost of the installation well before the end of the life of the boiler.
To demonstrate how the RHI payments can work with real properties out there, we have selected a range of property’s we have assessed and have summarised the typical heat demands and therefore the expected payments.
 In reality to see how much your property will get, you need to look at the last page of your EPC. Look at the heat demand combined with the water heating requirements then multiply by the tariff (12.2p/kWh). Generally speaking, smaller terraced properties are unlikely to have the space required for one of these boilers, but for larger properties, the returns are very generous. 
Free Biomass quotes here: http://www.biomassquoter.co.uk/
I bid you adieu my dear Sirs and Madams!

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

TOP 5 wacky solar inventions! #4 killed me!

Solar Panels are spreading like wildfire right now, they are EVERYWHERE an in the most oddest of places. Mainly because you can go pretty much anywhere in the day and you'll be under the sun (obviously). The human attraction to solar power is growing by leaps and bounds over the past 4 years because the technology is finally being realised. You nay sayers, blowing down solar panels about their efficiency are stuck in the past. Germany are running on 50% solar power and we all know how efficient they are! Without further adieu here are my top ten solar panel locations, proving how versatile the technology really is.

1. The Solar Power Fan Cap

Probably not the pinnacle of solar power's potential, but wacky indeed. Obviously choosing practicality over fashion this really does make the most of your head space. It's designed to cool the face by using the fan mounted on the ridge, running on the solar panel above the head. It wouldn't be a bad idea too if it didn't look a tad ridiculous. The best thing is these can be bought on Amazon! I enjoy it don't get me wrong. Part of me wants to buy it, but I'm more of a Sombrero 'fan' myself. 

2. Solar Moon

Not to be confused with the popular anime, Sailor Moon. This is a project being developed by Japan and the USA and it's not as far fetched as you might think! Tokyo-based Shimizu Corp. wants to lay a belt of solar panels 250 miles wide around the equator of our orbiting neighbour and then relay the constant supply of energy to “receiving stations” on Earth by way of lasers or microwave transmission. 

The “Luna Ring” that is being proposed would be capable of sending 13,000 terawatts of power to Earth. I guess the only appropriate reaction to that is...

It's a massive amount of power seen as in 2011 the USA alone generated 4,100 terawatts. Shimizu have yet to put a price tag on the construction costs involved, but given adequate funding the company believes construction work could get under way as early as 2035.


3. Floating Solar


This floating solar power plant technology was developed last year by a team led by SP Gon Choudhury, Chairman of the Renewable Energy College. With the total estimated cost of Rs 35 lakh ($63,600), the first pilot project is scheduled to be commissioned this year in October at a lake in the outskirts of Kolkata in West Bengal. The funding for the pilot project was provided by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
Solar panels will be installed on floating platforms which will be anchored firmly to avoid undulation of the panels around the surface of the water. Capital cost for this floating installation is approximately $1.18 Million per MW with power generation cost of Rs 7 ($0.13) per unit. 
Enough of the technical malarky, they are odd. No denying it, can you imagine swimming out to sea and see those giant circular monstrosities! I do like the concept though. Make most the space we have, although less of the solar fan cap space saving!

4. Donkey Solar

Now we've all wanted our solar panels portable, but on a little donkey? I'm pretty sure if it had the speed it could take off with those wings! Donkey's are famed for carrying heavy loads, Pregnant women, the unborn messiah now it's renewable technology; I guess the best animal to carry important cargo is a donkey! Its not just this donkey though...
 A 3rd world version of an eco car, a Toyota Pri-asinus?

5. Solar Fashion

Well I'd hardly call it fashion lets face it, it's sort of hideous. It's called 'wearable solar' and it's purpose is mainly to charge your phone and other devices while on the go, guess we know what iPhone users will be wearing... Obviously something like this would never catch on, but still it's a step forward! Lose the 80's shoulder pads and the Tron style look and it could look pretty good! 

Oh, it's not the only wearable solar either, introducing the solartie! Again for charging our phones (seeing a pattern yet?) and again, hideous. Guess we are just solar power mad! Just imagine the get up you will have with a solar fan cap, tron solar suit and a solartie! Would you get beaten up? Probably. But think of the positives, you would be able to taste defeat with a cool face and enough battery to call an ambulance.


I bid you adieu my dear Sirs and Madams!

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Cleaning Your Solar Panels Saves You Money!

Solar panels are generally self cleaning, but in particularly dry months and summers, or where panel tilt is minimal, dust and other substances such as bird droppings can build up over time and impact on the amount electricity generated by a module. Grime and bird poop doesn't need to cover an entire panel to have an effect. Even something the size of an inch across can have a detrimental effect on your electrical generation.
Photo Credit: Len Matthews


Tips for cleaning solar panel glass


Safety first - follow the procedure in your manual for shutting down the system before commencing cleaning.

For safety reasons, it's also wise to clean your panels from the ground if possible. A good quality soft brush and a squeegee with a plastic blade on one side and a cloth covered sponge on the other coupled with a long extension can make for the perfect tools allowing you to stay on the ground. Use a hose with a suitable nozzle to allow the stream of water to reach the panels.
   
NOTE: If cleaning your panels from the ground is not possible, do not attempt to access your rooftop unless you have the appropriate safety equipment and training. If you don't; hire a suitably qualified professional instead. Although we are combating this by developing our own type of solar panel cleaning product, with chemicals specially designed for maximum output for your solar panels and a long extension rod to get to those high to reach places, 25-30 footers this means you won't have to be forking out, paying for the clean up when you can do it yourself easily in 10 minutes!
Photo Credit: Jesse Wagstaff
TOP TIP: Clean your panels on an overcast day, early in the morning or in the evening. If the sun is beating down on the panels, any water used can quickly evaporate and dirt will become smeared. 
Early morning can be a particularly good time for cleaning as dew that has settled on the panels overnight will likely have softened grime; meaning you'll need to use less water and less energy to clean your solar panels.If the panels are dry, before tackling the modules with water, brush off any loose materials first - this will make cleaning easier and faster. Don't use metal objects or harsh abrasive products for removing caked on materials - scratching the glass on a solar panel can affect its performance as scratches will cast shadows. Avoid using detergents if possible as these may streak the glass of the panel. Use of abrasive powders also risks scratching the panels.  
Given the nature of good quality solar panel glass, clean water and a little scrubbing with a coarse cloth covered sponge or soft brush should remove the most stubborn grime.  Plastic scourers may also be used.
If your mains-supplied water is hard (mineral-rich) and rainwater is available; use that as a final rinse; then squeegee dry. If hard water is all you have, just be sure to squeegee well as mineral-ladened water can form deposits on glass as it dries.
  

Dealing with oily stains

Oily stains can occur in some installation scenarios, such as if you live near an airport and are under a flight path or if you live adjacent to and downwind of a major roadway frequented by trucks. If oily stains start appearing on your panels; isopropyl alcohol can be used as a spot-cleaning substance.
Photo Credit: Brlan Kusler

The final word on solar panel cleaning

The old saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" applies - in most residential installation scenarios, solar panel cleaning just isn't worth the bother - or the potential danger if accessing your rooftop. Unless dirt is clearly visible or performance is noticeably impacted; simply let nature do the job for you

I bid you adieu my dear Sirs and Madams!

Thursday, 26 June 2014

UK hits it's own record, but is smashed by Germany's

The UK hit a new record recently as sunny weather boosts solar power generation, providing estimated 7.8% of UK electricity in daylight hours of solstice! This is good news for the UK as year ago it was producing half that total, but thanks to the increase in domestic installations we are hitting it home with that 7.8% with 4.7 gigawatts.
Photo Credit: Steve Jurvetson

Why is solar taking off? 

The main reason for the big increase in domestic installations is the RHI (Renewable Heat Incentive) ran by the government letting you sell back the remainder of your free solar generated energy to the grid earning you up to £750 a year!

Solar power is all the rage right now with multiple projects getting into solar. Most recently are the solar roadways, although it had major flaws it still got $2million worth of funding, thats how excited people are about solar energy! Even this years world cup (2014) is powered by solar panels round the stadiums which produces more solar power than 11 of the 32 competing countries!


Video from Yingli's Youtube channel

It's not good enough

Sadly, the UK are far behind when it comes to solar power, especially when compared to Germany. They generated over 50% of their electricity demand from solar for the first time ever on 9 June (Maybe that's whats powering their team in the World Cup?) This is an outstanding achievement, giant leap forward for solar power indeed! A measly 7.8% seems an age away, but  Ray Noble, a consultant at the UK National Solar Centre says "We think that this is likely to double again within a year. There is nothing to stop it getting to 30-40% of UK electricity at this time of year," which is hopeful to say the least, but I too am hopeful as a part of the UK, England; may not of been able to beat Germany in the World Cup, but we sure can rival them with solar power if we stick at it!
Photo Credit: Elliott Brown
If you want to invest in some solar panels you can get FREE QUOTES from solar panel installers in your area here! Its quick, easy and simple. Who wouldn't want to make an extra £750 a year? And protect yourself from sky rocketing electricity bills

http://www.solarpanelquoter.co.uk/?s_eng=blog 

I bid you adieu my dear Sirs and Madams!

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Paint on solar panels is a 'Breakthru' for technology

'Breakthru' by Queen 1989.
(Look at that smirky deacy in the background!) 
Researchers at the University of Toronto have made a final breakthrough that could lead to cheaper and more flexible solar cells. It  could be used by millions of people around the world due to the nature of the design. The team developed nano-particles called colloidal quantum. The colloidal quantum dots are able to absorb so much sunlight because the researchers developed a material that keeps the electron-rich n-type semiconductor from turning into the electron-poor p-type semiconductor when exposed to the air. The n-type material makes the solar cells more efficient, isn't that clever?

Photo Credit: Good to be Green
The new material achieves solar power conversion efficiency of up to eight percent and can be painted or printed on surfaces such as roofing shingles, especially handy for those underdeveloped countries who I'm guessing will be their target audience if funded for production. The breakthrough also ensures better sensors, infra-red lasers, infra-red light emitting diodes and satellites so winners all round.


I bid you adieu my dear Sirs and Madams!

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

New type of battery answer to world's energy crisis!

The Vanadium redox battery could be the answer to the world's energy crisis. Vanadium's alloying properties have been known for hundreds of years. Most famously when Henry Ford used it in 1908 to make the body of his Model T stronger and lighter. For the same reasons - and also for its heat resistance - it was used to make portable artillery pieces and body armour in the First World War.


But vanadium's history seemingly goes back even further. Indeed, mankind may have been unwittingly exploiting the metal as far back as the 3rd Century BC!

So why are we just hearing about it now?

Vanadium is the 22nd most
 abundant element in Earth's crust
Well the main reason is their relatively poor energy-to-volume ratio, and the system complexity in comparison with standard storage batteries. BUT the Vanadium redox battery is an exciting technology because they can be discharged and recharged 20,000 times without much loss of performance compared to the Lithium ion battery, and they are thought to last decades!

What does that mean?

It means its PERFECT for renewable technologies that are producing too much power but with no place to store it! Countries like Hawaii, New Zealand and some states in the U.S are losing a vast amount of power due to no storage space. New Zealand aren't even allowed to use their solar panels at peak times because they are  producing too much energy and they are like "Well... what do we do with it?" Oh the irony! 

Vanadium redox batteries nevertheless provide the answer to a lot of problems we are now starting to face and will be in the future; as the incredible advancements in solar technology being made even during this year by MIT, various companies (Apple are even putting solar screens in the iPhone 6!) and sole inventors means we are pushing ourselves towards a more renewable energy dependent planet which is great, but where are we going to put it when we have this almost abundant amount of energy, Vanadium Redox Batteries of course!  
Photo Credit: BBC Laurence Knight

When are we going to see a change?

According to the BBC the problem Hawaii are facing right now could very well be a problem the whole world will be facing in the next 10 years or 2 world cups and a half from now (how I measure time.) Although some people argue that fossil fuel companies might take advantage of this kind of technology I think that it is needed to make renewable energies more efficient and reliable, we have to think about our future. 

Find more on Vanadium Redox Batteries and how they work on this Wikipedia page here

If this blog has made you consider having your own domestic renewable energy you can use our websites down below for FREE quotes from multiple companies around in your area for Solar panels, BiomassAir / Ground Source Heat Pumps


I bid you adieu my dear Sirs and Madams!

Monday, 16 June 2014

How to Attach Fascia Board on Gable End Trusses




  • Measure the depth of the truss ends (use a tape measure to do this) to get the width of fascia needed; The majority will by 1-by-6-inch lumber, but 1-by-4 can be used if the truss rafter is a 2-by-4. Fascia boards can extend below the truss end and usually do if a soffit covering is being installed. Get your tape measure and measure the length of the roof to figure the number and length of fascia boards needed; a single board usually will not cover the full length.

  • Use a circular saw to cut a square edge on one end of the fascia board for a gable roof. Cut a 45-degree miter for a hip roof, no not 'cool' sadly, if only all 45 degree miters could make your roof cool! Mark the other end of the fascia board to end at the centre of a truss end and cut a 45-degree angle across it, facing away from the house front. Do this on either gable or hip fascia, to make a connection with the abutting board.

  • Nail the end of the fascia to the end truss with a hammer and 8-penny nails. Place the square edge at the end of the roof and the top of the board flush with the roof sheathing. Put the inside edge of the miter on a hip roof fascia at the end of the corner truss tail. Have help and ladders for this installation. Lift the other end of the board in place and nail it to the centre of the truss. Drive two nails through the fascia into each truss end.

  • Cut a matching 45-degree angle across the end of the next fascia board, to overlap the end of the first one installed. Measure it and cut it to fit the other end truss; cut it square and flush with that truss end for a gable roof, mitered for a hip roof with the inside edge of the miter flush with the side of the end truss. Install it with two nails in each truss. Put two nails through both boards at the mitered joint.

  • Repeat the process on the other side of a gable roof, always working from back to front, so the overlapped seams form a smooth joint. Make similar installations on the other three sides of a hip roof, with the mitered ends making 90-degree corners. Drive two medium finishing nails through each side of the miter to secure the corner.

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  • I bid you adieu my dear Sirs and Madams!

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