View From A Shed by Kevin Holland
It was rather disappointing to read fellow columnist James Wild MP berate Extinction Rebellion and the Just Stop Oil Protests, whilst making sure we looked everywhere other than Government policy for the recent prices increases and shortages at the pumps.
As Britain has the third highest electricity prices of any country in the world, I would expect better than blaming protesters, Putin and Covid when we can look at decades of government inaction on National Energy Security in regards to ownership.
We sold off our energy to the highest bidder and for three decades, every time we switch a light on, shareholders and foreign owned energy companies get richer.
On the politics of energy, it was most welcome that the Chancellor reduced the VAT from five per cent to nought on new solar and battery systems.
Like many in our industry, I do believe he fell short by not offering a zero rate on batteries that are specifically designed for existing solar systems as they will still attract a 20 per cent VAT rate, putting many off.
The recent energy price increases have given some interesting conversations recently.
One client who approached us was keen to ask why his energy bill had gone up by over £1,300 a year, and that was before the recent price increases, let alone what's going to happen in October.
He told me he had switched to an all electric car and charges it at home for his 30 miles a day round trip. He told me how he had ripped out the old oil boiler and had an air source heating system and a couple of single room heaters installed which only used electricity and his bills had gone up by over £100 a month.
Within a few minutes, we ascertained that he was no longer paying for diesel for the car which was over £1500 a yr previously and his heating oil was close to £2,000 a year at current prices before the switch to a heat pump.
His £1,300 a year increase in electricity costs, is actually £2,200 a year saving on all fuel. And he doesn't have to drive to queue up for petrol. He just plugs in at home. As most do.
He now has a £2,100 a yr electricity bill. He pays 27p/kwh from his energy company. He uses close to 8,000kwh a yr.
The proposed solar and battery system, will generated 6,000 kwh of electricity a year. He'll store what he doesn't use during the day in the battery, or automate the excess energy to the car or hot water cylinder so as to utilise as much energy that he generates as he can.
The value of the electricity coming into the house from solar will be around £1,680 in year one, increasing in value every time the energy company puts the prices up.
If he used 80 per cent of the energy he generated, he'd save around £1350 a yr. The same as the increase in his bills giving a real term saving of all the oil and diesel he would have used, for the rest of his life.
That's what renewables do. Get rid of oil and gas. And save you a shed load of money.
For years, I have racked my brains about the heating in our old house. It has solid walls, no insulation other than double glazing, draught excluder and loft insulation and it leaks heat.
When we purchased it, it had an oil central heating system, which have reduced from around 3,200ltrs a year to 750 litres - 1,000 litres a year. And then it dawned on me.
This house wasn't built for central heating, is was built around the environment. Open fires, thick walls, low ceilings, small rooms. And as we only 'live' in one or two rooms what's the point of burning oil at 2.5 litres an hour when we can switch on a modern electric radiator for an hour or so, using energy from a battery, that was generated by the sun during the day.
We'll be replacing our oil this year with electric radiators after a successful trail this winter in the workshop.
The final piece of the jigsaw for us will be the company van. Ours is perfect for what we do and for all our business needs. But it's a diesel.
So now the journey begins on the next chapter of our lithium lifestyle, an all electric van that is not only affordable but fits the exact purpose my little family business needs. I'll keep you updated.