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New Solar and Tesla Batteries help to make Portsmouth Greener

A new large 250 kilo-watt (kW) solar system has been installed on the roofs of Portsmouth City Council’s Hilsea Industrial Estate. This complements the existing 50kW system and completes the biggest single solar and battery installation for the council to date. It marks another important step towards the council’s target of net zero carbon by … Continued

A new large 250 kilo-watt (kW) solar system has been installed on the roofs of Portsmouth City Council’s Hilsea Industrial Estate. This complements the existing 50kW system and completes the biggest single solar and battery installation for the council to date. It marks another important step towards the council’s target of net zero carbon by 2030, with solar and batteries being identified as one of the key technologies to deliver the renewable power needed.

This ground-breaking project uses batteries as a key component of the installation; installed alongside 738 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. The ten-unit battery system, is the largest operational Powerwall installation in the UK. The system can store 135 kWh of electricity at any one time; enough to power an average domestic homes for 2 weeks. As well as capturing more of the solar power generated on the site, the batteries are also able to take advantage of storing power at night, when electricity is cheaper. Stored energy is then used during mornings and early evenings when electricity costs are more expensive.

Combined, the solar PV and storage will reduce the site’s reliance on grid-bought electricity by almost 50%; despite there being many energy-hungry processes at the industrial estate. The system will reduce carbon emissions by 69 tonnes a year, and reduce the running costs of the site significantly. During the summer months, virtually all of the power required to run the site will be coming from either the panels or batteries.

Cllr Dave Ashmore, the council’s Cabinet Member of Environment and Climate Change said: “It’s fantastic to see Portsmouth City Council leading the way when it comes to innovative projects like the one at Hilsea Industrial Estate. Not only are we producing and using our own renewable energy but projects like this dramatically reduce the Council’s ongoing energy costs. The Council has been clear in setting out its plans in tackling climate emergency and it’s fantastic to see projects like acting out these plans.”

The work was carried out by one of Portsmouth City Council’s Solar PV framework contractors, Evo Energy and project managed by the City Council’s in-house Energy Team.

Mike Salisbury, Managing Director of Evo Energy, commented on the Hilsea Project, ‘”We are extremely proud to be working with Portsmouth City Council on such an exciting and innovative project.

Bringing together cutting edge battery technology alongside Solar PV to deliver for businesses increased financial savings will help them to achieve real net zero, and reduce their reliance on the national grid.

This is the future for renewable power in utilising otherwise unused roof space local to the user and turning it into a green energy generator.”

The council has already used its framework to install Tesla Powerwalls in 13 housing blocks, with a further 20 on the way. However, this is the first time that such a large number of the units have been used in a single installation. Where batteries have been installed previously, up to 98% of the sites’ electricity demand has been met through the batteries and accompanying solar.

Energy storage through the use of batteries is set to become a key technology for Portsmouth City Council and their ambitions to become net zero carbon by 2030; as they strive to take every opportunity to harness renewable energy opportunities.

How to use your storage heaters efficiently with Economy 7

Over four million households in the UK use an Economy 7 meter to try and cut their electricity bills. Your lifestyle and usage habits will have an effect on your electricity bills when you’re on an Economy 7 meter – during 7 hours of the night you will receive discounted rates, but during the day … Continued

Over four million households in the UK use an Economy 7 meter to try and cut their electricity bills.

Your lifestyle and usage habits will have an effect on your electricity bills when you’re on an Economy 7 meter – during 7 hours of the night you will receive discounted rates, but during the day you will be charged more than a standard fixed tariff would usually offer. To save money with Economy 7, it is suggested that you need to use more than 40% of your electricity during these cheaper 7 hours.

How do I know if I am on Economy 7?

You can check if you have an Economy 7 meter by looking at your bill – if you have two electricity readings, marked day and night or high and low, the chances are you’re on an Economy 7 meter. If you live in a property with storage heaters, you are most likely on Economy 7.

This way of billing was brought in to support electric storage heaters. Storage heaters charge up during the night and emit heat during the day. Economy 7 would not be recommended for electrically heated households without storage heaters or a hot water tank, or for households which mainly use electrical appliances during the day, such as a washing machine or a tumble dryer, as the day time rates are more expensive.

How do storage heaters work?

Storage heaters are wall-mounted, and look similar to a normal radiator, though they usually have feet at the bottom as they are a lot heavier. They work by charging up overnight and storing this energy as heat in a bank of clay or ceramic bricks. This heat will be dispelled over the following day. It’s best to imagine them as a rechargeable battery – they cannot be turned on to emit heat straight away – they must charge up. It’s important that you don’t set your storage heaters to charge during the daytime hours – this is a very expensive way to heat your home, and all of the heat will be put out at night when you don’t need it.

You can control the heat settings on your storage heaters using the ‘Input’ and ‘Output’ settings, which can usually be found as a dial. The input setting tells the heater how much heat to store during the night. The higher you set this, the more heat it will store, and the more electricity it will use. During the day, the heater will release heat constantly at low levels. You can control the amount of heat released through the output control – this setting controls heater vents which open and close, letting heat out faster or slower. Opening the vents fully will use the stored heat up faster.

What’s the best way to heat my home?

Storage heaters are not the most efficient way to heat your home. Unlike a rechargeable battery which will hold its charge until needed, storage heaters will lose heat almost immediately, especially as they get older. They can lose from 25-50% of their energy this way. You can buy storage heaters which hold this heat for longer, but this of course comes with a hefty price. When using storage heaters, it’s advised to ensure that your property is well insulated so the heat will be retained for longer, rather than escaping through the walls and roof.

If your storage heaters are old and inefficient, it might be time to consider changing your heating system. Through Switched On Portsmouth you can receive a fully funded gas central heating system, including any required gas connections. Gas central heating is up to 3 times cheaper to run than electric heating, and can provide heating on demand. We also offer assistance with getting your walls or loft insulated which will help you reduce your energy bills, and make it easier to heat your home, no matter what heating system you use.

For more information, click here. You can also give us a call on 0800 260 5907!

 

By Anttonia Lindup

Anttonia
solar panels on roof
New Home Energy Support Service Announced for Portsmouth

Portsmouth City Council has announced that it is to launch a new home energy service to support every household in the city. The initiatives outlined will support households by providing access to energy efficiency schemes and renewable technology. The new service will encourage a greater uptake of energy efficiency measures in Portsmouth; lowering carbon emissions … Continued

Portsmouth City Council has announced that it is to launch a new home energy service to support every household in the city. The initiatives outlined will support households by providing access to energy efficiency schemes and renewable technology.

The new service will encourage a greater uptake of energy efficiency measures in Portsmouth; lowering carbon emissions and energy bills, as well as promoting the creation of low-carbon skills and employment in the area.

In recent years the Council has worked successfully to create a number of offers around fuel poverty mitigation; delivered by Switched On Portsmouth.

These schemes help hundreds of vulnerable households each year. In the last 12 months, the service has provided 137 fully-funded free gas central heating systems to Portsmouth households. Through its schemes, Switched On Portsmouth has also helped residents save a combined total of over £800,000 on their energy bills.

The additional energy efficiency services and schemes announced this week, will be made available to all residents in Portsmouth. Initiatives include a grant scheme for insulation, an approved trader register and a redesigned website to give helpful, unbiased support to those looking to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

Alongside these schemes, the Switched On Portsmouth website will host a new solar power feasibility tool for residents to use. The tool will provide precise information about the potential of a residential home’s roof to host solar panels, the savings they will make and the cost of the installation.

A new Freephone number has also been launched in order to allow residents to raise any concerns they have regarding energy-related issues, or to seek friendly, unbiased advice from an advisor.

The council aims to get every resident engaged in the energy they use and the carbon their homes emit, so as to reduce household bills and emissions in-line with their commitment to make the city net zero carbon by 2030.

Speaking about the publication of the new home energy support service proposals at Cabinet, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Leader of Portsmouth City Council said: “The Switched On Portsmouth service has been exceptionally successful in offering help to those households in the city who are most vulnerable; receiving grant funding and awards for the services they provide. However, if we are to achieve our aim of a net zero carbon by 2030, we must also develop support for every household. I am excited by the announcement of the services within this paper, particularly those which will encourage households to take up solar panels.”

To view the recent Switched On Portsmouth Impact Report, click here

freephone launched
Council Launches New Energy Freephone Advice Line

Portsmouth City Council is encouraging the city’s residents to contact a new freephone advice line if they face issues with paying their energy bills, as part of the Switched On Portsmouth service. The line will be established using grant funding from the Energy Redress scheme; with the phones being manned by advisors from the Environment … Continued

Portsmouth City Council is encouraging the city’s residents to contact a new freephone advice line if they face issues with paying their energy bills, as part of the Switched On Portsmouth service. The line will be established using grant funding from the Energy Redress scheme; with the phones being manned by advisors from the Environment Centre, an environmental charity who specialise in energy advice.

It is expected that 1,200 households will use the service over the next two years, helping with issues such as billing queries, energy efficiency advice and income maximisation support. The advice line will also be used as a conduit to a range of other services offered by Switched On Portsmouth.

The cost of electricity and gas has risen significantly over recent years, with many households finding it increasingly difficult to afford to pay their energy bills. Simple advice, offered by the Switched On Portsmouth freephone line advisors, can have the effect of making a dramatic dent in household outgoings. The service aims to save Portsmouth residents £200,000.

The freephone advice line will be an important tool for residents looking to combat rising fuel bills; particularly in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic. To ensure services continue to reach residents during this period, Switched On Portsmouth moved a number of its services online, as home visits ceased to be an option.

Improvements to the website, virtual drop-ins and a virtual one-on-one ‘Energy Doctor’ were all developed in order to get households the help they needed during the lockdown period.

Councillor Dave Ashmore, Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change, said of the new service, “Too many households in Portsmouth are forced to make a choice between heating and eating. Having been in the situation myself in the past, I can speak with experience about what an awful choice this is to make. I hope that this freephone advice line, along with the range of other services offered by the council, will go some way to alleviating this issue; with residents able to receive practical, unbiased and specialist advice about how they can reduce their energy bills.”

Switched On Portsmouth offers a range of support related to home energy including free home visits, insulation, emergency boiler replacements and free first-time central heating. To see the full range of services, visit www.switchedonportsmouth.co.uk or call the freephone advice line on 0800 260 5907.

green energy boost
Green Energy Boost for Portsmouth City Council

Portsmouth City Council has confirmed that all of its buildings’ electricity supplies are to come from 100% renewable generation from October 2020. The green power is to be bought as part of a new three-year deal, which has seen all of the council’s 1,300 electricity and gas supplies retendered to secure new competitive tariffs; saving … Continued

Portsmouth City Council has confirmed that all of its buildings’ electricity supplies are to come from 100% renewable generation from October 2020. The green power is to be bought as part of a new three-year deal, which has seen all of the council’s 1,300 electricity and gas supplies retendered to secure new competitive tariffs; saving the authority around £340,000 each year.

The purchase of green power is seen as an important step in the right direction towards achieving the council’s ambition to become net zero carbon by 2030. The purchase of Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGOs) for all of its premises means that the electricity used will be from green, renewable sources such as wind, solar and hydropower.

This positive step is just one of a number of measures being undertaken to decarbonise the council’s building and street-lighting portfolio. Over recent years, the authority has invested heavily in energy efficiency and renewable generation. This has included the installation of nearly 400 PV systems, totalling almost 26,000 solar panels and 6 Mega Watts of clean generation capacity, creating enough electricity each year to power 1,500 homes. Energy efficiency measures have included installation of LED lighting in buildings throughout the city, and across the street-lighting portfolio.

The council has committed to continue to improve energy efficiency and increase the capacity of renewable generation; with projects including LED lighting, solar and battery technology, at several sites, which are ongoing or imminent. The investment in solar power meant that the council broke generation records in the early summer, as record periods of sunshine were recorded.

Commenting upon the new energy deal, Councillor Dave Ashmore, Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate change said, “It is great to see this positive step in the journey towards decarbonising our buildings in Portsmouth, as we aim towards net zero carbon by 2030. The new energy contracts show that going green doesn’t need to cost more! The savings made here, buck the trend over recent years of increasing energy prices, and will contribute to keeping front line services running in the face of financial pressures.”

To learn more about the work that the council is doing to reduce its energy consumption, increase renewable generation and lower carbon emissions from its own buildings and the city’s homes, please navigate through this website.

Record water demand in hot weather

Portsmouth Water is asking everyone to keep water for essential use only for the duration of the current heatwave. The current heatwave we are experiencing has combined with the Covid restrictions and people taking ‘staycations’, to result in a record breaking demand for water this week. This demand is putting strain on the system and … Continued

Portsmouth Water is asking everyone to keep water for essential use only for the duration of the current heatwave.

The current heatwave we are experiencing has combined with the Covid restrictions and people taking ‘staycations’, to result in a record breaking demand for water this week.

This demand is putting strain on the system and threatens to leave some customers with low pressure or even without water as pipes reach capacity and cannot physically allow enough water through them fast enough for everyone’s use. So we are asking everyone to show some restraint and only to use water for essential purposes for the next few days, to ensure there is enough water to go around. We would ask people to put away their hosepipes and garden sprinklers and allow their grass to turn gold and their car to gather dust – for a couple of days, just until the heatwave has passed.

We are continuing to produce water 24/7 and our technicians are working around the clock to ensure houses and businesses have the essential water they need for cooking, cleaning and washing. With your help we can make sure everyone gets the water they need.

Bob Taylor, Portsmouth Water CEO commented

‘We are asking customers to restrict their use of water during the next few days of heatwave, in order to ensure that that all customers receive a reliable water supply. Demand over the weekend was the highest in over 10 years and we are encouraging people use water carefully to essential there is plenty for personal hygiene needs, something that so important to combat the spread of covid-19’.

As can be seen on the graph below demand is well above our average daily demand of 170 million litres a day (Mld). We are hoping with customer support we can get down to below 200 Mld by the end of the week, thereby easing the pressure on supplies.

portsmouth water

Switched On Portsmouth 2019-2020 Impact Report

Switched On Portsmouth is dedicated to improving home energy efficiency in the city and surrounding areas; saving money from people’s bills and reducing carbon emissions from their homes. It was established by Portsmouth City Council last year in order to deliver a number of existing energy and affordable warmth schemes; including homes energy advice, emergency … Continued

Switched On Portsmouth is dedicated to improving home energy efficiency in the city and surrounding areas; saving money from people’s bills and reducing carbon emissions from their homes.

It was established by Portsmouth City Council last year in order to deliver a number of existing energy and affordable warmth schemes; including homes energy advice, emergency boiler replacements, first time central heating and insulation. Switched On Portsmouth was also charged with expanding the reach and scope of the services on offer.

They have now released a report charting the past 12 months to show the extent of the positive impacts that they have had.

The Switched On Portsmouth Impact Report provides details of the 1,500 households helped in Portsmouth, Gosport and Havant from June 2019 through to May 2020, and the extent to which households have been helped. The report shows:

  • 425 of the most vulnerable households benefitting from home visits; 73 broken boiler replacements and 2,591 small energy saving measures fitted
  • £818,844 saved from people’s bills or delivered from benefit maximisation service and securing Warm Homes Discount payments
  • Carbon emissions equivalent to 1,487 tonnes of carbon dioxide reduced from homes
  • More than 18,000 visits to the Switched On website, since its launch in November
  • During the coronavirus crisis, 94 households unable to afford to top-up their prepayment meters, were helped by administering emergency top-ups totalling over £3,000

Despite the encouraging statistics in the impact report, more than 1 in 10 households in Portsmouth still struggle to afford their energy bills; and this ‘fuel poverty’ leads to societal and health impacts, and often the household needing to decide between heating and eating.

It is for this reason that the Switched On Portsmouth team is continuing to expand the scale and scope of their schemes, in order to reach those most in need. In March of this year, the council published its Home Energy and Water Strategy; and since this time, additional funding has been secured from external partners to increase the support available.

The publication of the strategy also heralded the launch of wider support for residents not in the fuel poor category, but that want to make savings on their bills and reduce their carbon emissions.

Councillor Vernon-Jackson, the Leader of the council, welcomed the publication of the report,

“The development of the Switched On service has provided more households in Portsmouth with holistic energy support than ever before; helping them to feel warm and safe at home. The energy saved in each home contributes to an important reduction in carbon emissions in the city; improving air quality and helping Portsmouth City Council towards its target of net zero carbon by 2030.

The impact report highlights the important work of Switched On Portsmouth over the past year; and I know there are plans to improve the support offered even further in the coming months. I am confident that in another year’s time I will be able to report even greater successes as we build on the direction given by the recently published Home Energy and Water Strategy.”

In October 2019, Portsmouth City Council received national recognition at the Energy Efficiency Awards for its work towards mitigating fuel poverty and the provision of affordable energy for vulnerable residents, as well as being crowned Council of the Year at the recent regional awards.

To view the published impact report, please click here

To speak to one of the team about the support on offer, please call 023 9284 1947 or visit www.switchedonportsmouth.co.uk

Want to find out more?

If you have any questions about what you might be eligible for or if you just want to find out more about how we can help, just send us an email or give us a call