NPower have increased prices

NPower have followed the pack and increased their gas and electric prices its been reported.  NPower are increasing their prices by 15.7% on gas and 7.2% on electric.

The owners of NPower are blaming the price increase on the fact they have to buy from the global wholesale market and the prices are in flux.

What is odd is NPower reported a increase in half year profits so why the increase for the customers?

Now that all the main companies have increase prices it means all most everyone will be paying a lot more each year towards their bills, so what can we do?

In truth there is very little we can all do other than finding ways to reduce our bills ourselves.  This will mean making sure houses have double glazing, insulation whether its in the roof or walls and doing other small things which I’ve been describing on this site.

Regardless on what we do it does mean we have to spend more in order to reduce bills in the long run which does seem unfair seeing as these companies are showing some very large profits.


Posted on August 16th, 2011 in Green News by JP No Comments

Council homes to get solar panels

North Tyneside council have agreed to installing 3000 council homes with solar panels by March 2012.

The council have teamed up with E.ON for this deal which will see fuel bills cut by around £120 a year for the tenants.

This installation will help many tenants with bills but of course it’s also going to help North Tyneside with cutting down the carbon foot print by an estimated 75,000 tons which is a great step in the right direction.

If other local authorities followed this it would be a good start are really reducing the carbon footprint for the UK.

Posted on August 15th, 2011 in Solar Power by JP No Comments

Should more caravans have solar panels

At the end of last year we bought a static caravan to used for family holidays because having a son who is just about to turn two we thought that staying within the UK and only having to travel 3 hours for a holiday would be a good idea.

When we bought the caravan we had the standard sales pitch and of course bought the caravan (we were always going to buy the caravan anyway!)

One thing that stood out last week when we were getting ready for another holiday is the fact on our site of what much be over 100 caravans there is not one with solar panels on them.

When looking to install fixed solar panels the best position is a South facing roof.  This allows for the solar panels to be in the direct sunlight for the longest (when we have the sun of course).  This is mainly because of the angle of the roof is quite steep.

With a caravan though most caravan roofs have a very small slope meaning that really, no matter which way it’s facing you should always get the most out of the solar panels.

When we bought the caravan there was never any talk about solar panels so I decided to e-mail Park Resorts to ask where they stand on the subject.

The response I got was that the caravan manufactures didn’t offer solar panels and that it was food for thought by Park Resorts.

This answer is ‘fair enough’ but I wanted to know a little more so I have sent another e-mail asking what Park Resorts would think if I wanted to put up my own solar panels on the caravan.

The reason for the e-mail is whether I wanted an ‘on grid’ solar setup or a stand along how or what would Park Resorts would do to help me with this.

I’ve not had a response back as of yet but I will post my findings.

I do think that if solar panels were offered in a deal when buying a caravan then if most caravans took this offer up it would basically cut out the electricity bill for everyone.  As most of the parks are not open all year round it would mean that when the parks were shut the solar panels could still generate electric while the resort was shut.

Of course it is not just about saving money but also helping the environment and surely it would save Park Resorts plenty of money!

Posted on August 12th, 2011 in Solar Power by JP No Comments

New design in Wind Turbines

The normal wind turbines we see on our land scape could be a thing of the past one day.  At the moment the normal wind turbines will only generate two watts of power per square metre of land.  The reason for this is the space in which the wind turbines need because of the large blades spinning around and to avoid turbulence from each other.

The new design in wind turbines which look like ‘upright spinning egg whisks’ use a lot less space because there are no large blades sticking out and the designers have also watched how schools of fish swim to avoid the turbulence.

The new design will not avoid all the turbulence but it will help power all the other wind turbines by using a funnelling effect.  The power generated by paired turbines could in theory be larger than wind turbines working on there own.

The new design if proven to be successful and implemented could mean much more power generated per square meter.  This means that owners could either use much less land, or use the same amount of land but generate more power.


Posted on August 11th, 2011 in Wind Power by JP No Comments

Solar Energy Power Station Update 2

It’s been a few days now since I built and installed the solar energy power station.  Everything is still working well but I do have some concerns.

It’s bothering me that I don’t know how much energy the solar panel is producing and I don’t like that the battery will not show how charged up it is.

The amount of power being passed from the 60w solar panel can be tested using a volt meter and I’ve managed to find a cheap one from EBay which will hopefully turn up in the next few days.

The battery I bought does have a ‘level’ indicator on it however its not very good at all.  They are a few batteries with indicators built in to them, if you come across one which is just a dot which will go green when fully charged I would avoid it.

To solve the ‘is my battery full or empty’ problem I have again, from EBay, I’ve bought a battery level indicator. It’s a simple device that I can attach to the battery which should give me a much clearer indication on how full (or empty) the battery is.  It will also allow me to see how much energy a larger device has used which will be useful information when conducting some tests.

On a very positive note however the solar charging station is giving power to the battery no matter what the weather.  Living in the North East of England we have has some really bad rain lately and it’s been over cast for a couple of days but when ever I look at the charge regulator it’s always charging the battery which is good news.

Charging Laptop via Solar Energy

Charging Laptop via Solar Energy


As you can see from this picture I’ve been testing the solar energy charging station with some common devices.  I’ve already tried charging the ‘atom’ laptop which (it was not a big surprise) worked very well.

I would guess the amount of electricity being drawn is now very big so this setup would have no problems in charging the laptop.

Regardless of the laptop you have this setup I have will charge it up, because I bought a rather large 2,000 w inverter anything that draws less than 2,000 w can be plugged in.  I don’t think there are many laptops which will want more than that!


Charging Samsung Galaxy Tab

Charging Samsung Galaxy Tab


The second device I tried to plug in was my Samsung Galaxy Tablet.

Again very little surprise that as soon as it was plugged in the device started to charge up.

I’ve charged the Tablet up once fully and there is no time difference between having it plugged in to the mains or to the solar charging station, the obvious difference is the solar charging station is, in a sense, costing me no money.

Although not great tests it is a sure way to see if the setup is working and providing me with electricity.






I’m now waiting for the few other smaller items to turn up and then i will try something a little bigger.  By trying something larger I will see if the solar charging station can cope with the load and how much it depletes the battery as knowing the limit on the battery will of course be very helpful for future use.

Posted on August 8th, 2011 in Money Saving, Solar Power by JP No Comments

More price rises on electric and gas

As it seems to be a growing trend amongst electric / gas companies it seems that just about all of them have put up the price of energy this year.

E.On is the latest company to raise their prices and it’s not really a little jump with gas going up 18% and electricity 11% in September.  E.On are just another company in a long list that keep putting up the price of Gas and Electricity.  Amongst the other companies are NPower, British Gas and Scottish power to name but a few.

All companies are, at the moment blaming the rise in wholesale energy prices.

What I find odd is most of the larger gas / electric companies are investing plenty of money in renewable energy, of course the money they are spending will need to be ‘recouped’ but surely if these companies are making all this extra electric via solar energy / wind power then how come our prices are rising at a alarming rate?

It is estimated that with all the price raises this year it will cost a UK household 10% of the income if not more.  There are a few websites claiming now to offer advice on how to cut down your bills but there is only one showing you real tests and experiments on how to save money.  Be sure to share, like and tell your friends about and hopefully we can all save a little money.

Posted on August 7th, 2011 in Green News by JP No Comments

Aberdeen may get a new wind farm

The Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group have applied to build a new generation wind farm off the cost of Aberdeen.  The new generation wind turbines will be there as a ‘tester’ but will provide some much needed jobs for the area.

However, there is always someone complaining but this time it’s Donald Trump.  Trump owns a golf club in the area and is complaining that having some wind turbines placed in the proposed location off the cost of Aberdeen will make his golf course have unattractive views to the paying customer.

Just about every time a company proposes a new location for a wind farm someone complains, the two most popular being how it will spoil the view and the noise.

Off shore wind farms were supposed to be the answer although it did have people complaining about it upsetting the natural balance in the ocean.

I’m actually starting to feel sorry for companies trying to build wind farms as it seems no matter where the proposed site is someone starts complaining.  Having wind farms around the UK coast lines is creating job and being green, renewable energy to the UK which is something we all should be doing and should care about but it seems that many are more interested in a nice view.

Posted on August 6th, 2011 in Green News, Wind Power by JP No Comments

Saving Money at Home Part 5

With the on going struggle to keep our electric bills down it seems that everything / everyone is against us with yet more energy companies putting up there prices.  With more and more companies doing this it’s becoming even more important to try and save money at home which leads us to Part 5 of Saving Money at Home.

Energy Saving Light Bulbs

Energy Saving Light Bulbs


I don’t think people release just how much energy normal light bulbs in the house use.  Watching the OWL electric monitor whilst walking around the house turning lights on and off you start to get an idea that they do consume quite a lot of electric.

I’ve seen the OWL monitor jump up around 0.6 kw by just turning on a set of lights which was a surprise.

If you were to look at the price difference then if you used a 50w light bulb for 1 hour a day and paid 0.10p for a unit of electric you will pay £1.83 a year but switching to a 50w energy saving light bulb you will only pay  £0.37 a year.

Now a yearly saving of £1.46 does not seem like a great saving but this is based on 1 light bulb 1 hour a day.  If you look at this as a home owner it will no doubt jump to 3-5 light bulbs perhaps a couple of hours per day so the savings will increase quite a bit.

The standard cost of these light bulbs is around £1 – £3 depending of course on brand, style and company but this should be offset quite quickly especially over the winter period when you will have quite a few lights on and on more often.

Over the next day or so I’ll be wondering around replacing all normal light bulbs with energy saving light bulbs to help keep that rising electric bill down.

Posted on August 5th, 2011 in Money Saving by JP No Comments

Solar Energy Power Station video update

After the solar panels and solar equipment turned up this morning I began work on setting up the ‘solar energy power station’ and of course recorded the whole event.  The video is a bit over 13 minutes long however it only took around 5 minutes to actually setup the charging station which was a bit of a surprise.

After the video was complete I did go back and tidy up the work I did but that is because I do have a 2 year old son who would find all the wires very interesting.

From start to finish while making the video I was shocked at how easy the solar energy charging station was to make.  Once all connected up again (after the video) I did try and turn the inverter on and plug in a tablet I own, straight away it began charging it so a good test / proof it was all working.


solar panel home

Solar Panels temp home


As you can see from the above picture I managed to tidy up the mess I made in the kitchen and tried to have everything in a sensible position.

The solar Panel at the moment is next to the shed for the reason that area gets plenty of sunshine (when it’s out).

The cable at the moment is just running into the Kitchen through the window which is connected to the regulator which then connects to the battery.

The inverter is then connected to the battery which completes the circuit.



Battery and Inverter

The battery, Inverter and regulator setup in the kitchen

I’ll be leaving the battery to charge up and once full charged I will start running some tests to see just what you

can run off this setup or for how long you can run something.

I have no doubt it will charge up various devices like mobile phones, tablets, laptops without a problem but I will be looking at larger objects such as lawnmowers, toasters to name a few.

My next video which is related to this Solar Energy Charging Station will look at what will / wont work so be sure to keep on reading my posts.

Posted on August 4th, 2011 in Money Saving, Solar Panel Reviews, Solar Power by JP No Comments

Solar Energy Power Station

So what do you need to build a Solar Energy Power Station and to answer that question is now very easy.  Of course I’m not talking about a power station that will power 100 homes but a small solar power station that will charge various devices in your home.

A couple of days ago I started e-mailing the company SunShine Solar and I kept getting replies from a person called ‘Mike’.  Mike was very helpful and answered all my questions no matter how many I sent and how stupid they no doubt sounded.  But thanks to Mike I now have everything needed to build my own Solar Energy Power station… well nearly everything!

Solar kit

Solar Kit needed for Solar Energy Power Station



The whole kit includes:

Solar Panel


Charge Regulator

extension cable

Solar Panel Stand



Now the above list is missing 1 product which is a battery box but I didn’t order this from SunShine Solar it was ordered from EBay so no idea when it will turn up.  The battery box is going to be very important for this project as with the battery living outside I need it protected.

Today I’ll be making another video of how to put together this setup and I’m hoping it wont be too hard but Mike has assured me that I can contact him for help.

Important: To be honest without Mikes help I’m unsure if I would of bought the right products.  I nearly bought a 80 W solar panel but after e-mailing the person selling it it turned out that “Weather Proof” does not always mean “Water Proof” .. who would of thought it!!

Till later when hopefully the whole idea of a ‘cheap’ solar energy charging station will be up and running.

Posted on August 4th, 2011 in Money Saving, Solar Panel Reviews, Solar Power by JP No Comments