Simply Solar, primarily funded by the Energy Saving Trust, was developed through a partnership comprising of Kirklees Metropolitan Council, Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council, Hebden Bridge Alternative Technology Centre and Kirklees Energy Service, who co-ordinated and managed the scheme. The scheme aimed to reduce CO2 emissions by offering professionally installed (via a developed solar installer network) and 'Do It Yourself' (DIY) solar water heating systems at set, discounted prices, with additional grants, to domestic householders in Kirklees and Calderdale, after viability testing through a feasibility study. Although Simply Solar did not achieve their target number of installations, in comparison to other solar schemes run in the UK it did exceedingly well and the systems installed caused reductions in CO2 emissions, thereby assisting local authorities to achieve commitments towards energy conservation. Moreover, Simply Solar created an environment where solar energy was affordable and normal and achieved financial savings (utility bills) for householders. Successful replication involves focussing marketing on environmental and fuel bill savings and maintaining prices at a realistic level to give installers and suppliers financial reinforcement for their involvement.
The feasibility study indicated a large potential market for solar water heating systems, 20% of people would consider buying systems when the target price was offered at a 40% discount (approximately 1421.00). Such interest suggested a relatively realistic opportunity of reaching the sales target of 0.7% of the potential market.
Table 1 displays the household take up and Installation type through Simply Solar. All measures installed were solar water heating systems (flat plate).
Table 1: Household Take up & Installation type
Note: 2003 figures only up until 14/09/03.
Table 1 shows that 109 solar water heating systems were installed through Simply Solar, with 96 professional installations and 13 DIY. In the first year of implementation 60 installations were installed and 49 were installed in the second year. Although the scheme achieved just above half its target of 200 installations, the scheme did achieve its target of establishing a scheme with an affordable product, a network of local installers and has helped to make solar power a more acceptable and attainable aspiration in these areas. Moreover, follow-up customer satisfaction/ health questionnaires had a 60% response rate, 96% of which were satisfied with the work completed. Table 2 displays the savings achieved through the installation of solar water heating systems.
Table 2: Savings achieved through Installation of Solar Energy
Note: Results for kWh saved and CO2 savings were calculated from HEED database calculations.
This figure (0.046) was calculated from a representative sample of households who had energy efficient measures installed. Wherein, 5% used electricity, 95% used gas, and gas prices were at 0.043 and electricity at 0.107.
Table 2 shows CO2 savings of 1047.075 tonnes over the 20-year lifetime of the installations combined and a saving of 10,074 to date. These savings do not include the effects of other associated energy efficiency measures, for example loft and cavity insulation, which, as we have seen in other schemes, are quite substantial. The CO2 emission savings caused by installing solar water heating systems through Simply Solar have assisted local authorities to achieve the Friends of the Earth Climate Resolution and other policies and commitments towards their achievement of energy conservation.
In addition to achieving the above, Simply Solar has increased the thermal comfort of householders by encouraging the uptake of other energy efficiency measures in order to be eligible for a Simply Solar Grant (insulation and heating systems). Together with the 28 per year saved through the installation of solar water heating systems, this has had a positive effect on householders' disposable income. Alongside this, awareness of energy efficiency and renewable energy has been raised by this scheme.