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After a very busy 2017, 2018 has started with more repairs and servicing than ever before.
We took the decision this year to not renew our MCS certification, so we can no longer offer customers the chance to claim the Renewable Heat Incentive. We have been MCS accredited since 2007 so it was something we believed in and we have done many MCS installations over the years. However our business is seeing so much work in repairs and servicing and we recieve so few requests for new installations that we no longer saw the sense in renewing. The idea behind MCS was to set a high standard of installation - like quality control. Unfortunately is just hasn't worked ....more and more of the systems we now repair were installed by MCS companies. The costs and time to be MCS are also significant, and when the people doing that certification each year have very little technical knowledge, you can see why we have lost heart in the process.
As an example, during my last inspection for MCS renewal I purposely left a fault in the system to see if the inspector would notice it. The fault was a low pressure in the solar circuit and could cause no end of problems if left unchecked. It wasn't noticed until I pointed it out, and I was told to top it up later. The inspector was far more concerned with my paperwork about my quality control systems than the actual quality of my installations!
I will continue to offer new installations, and now I am not MCS I can offer them at a cheaper cost than before but still using the same high quality systems and components.
Hello, sorry for not doing a blog recently, but to be honest, we've not go much to say! We're still here, still beavering away installing, repairing and servicing solar thermal systems. We've been doing this for over 10 years now, and Kai has seen everything to do with solar thermal, like we say on our Repairs page, 'if we can't mend it, no one can" Kai has gained so much experience over the last decade.
Although most of our work is local to us in the East Midlands - Leicestershire, Northants, Derbys, Notts, etc. We have been getting calls as far away as Wales, Hull and London, simply because there are so few specialised solar thermal experts in the country.
So we're still at it, working hard and sweating away in lofts and roofs (who needs the gym?!), give us a call if you need anything (obviously solar related - not just if you want someone to make you a cup of tea!)
Have a great summer.
We've been very busy recently, Kai has been carrying out a lot of repairs (not to our systems obviously, but to systems installed by other companies!) and I have been beavering away in the office, working on our new website amongst other things, well someone has to keep up to date with facebook ;-)

So the new website is now up and running, we hope it looks a bit more professional, but that we still come across as the small, friendly company that we are - 'big enough to cope, small enough to care' and all that!

We are going to start sending out occasional newsletters - only 3 or 4 a year, so if you'd like to be kept up to date with what's going on in our solar thermal world, please fill in the form on our home page and we'll add you to the mailing list.

Enjoy the autumn sunshine.
When you have solar heating installed, there are a few details which if not carried will stop your system working properly.
The number one most common complaint we see in systems badly installed (not by us!) are airlocked systems.

In most other areas of plumbing, it is a given that any high points in the system will have air vents, so that when the system is filled up, the plumber will go to the air vents and vent the system - getting all the air out.
So why not do the same with solar thermal? Well thats what most plumbers and even some suppliers recommend - an air vent at the highest point of the system eg the top of the solar panels on the roof. Problems solved?!

Unfortunately not.

Firstly, if you use a normal plumbing air vent, it will be melt (thats right, melt!) when the system stagnates for the first time. Even solar rated air vents cannot withstand some tube collector stagnattion temperatures (up to 300C).

Secondly, even if you use the correct high temp air vent, and the plumber can get back to the top of the collector to vent the system during commisioning (i.e. the scaffolding is still up and the panel is not hot), you will still not get all the air out. The problems lies in the type of fluid in the system: Propelene Glycol mixed with water. This is a more viscous fluid and abosrbs air readily. This means that even after a week of normal running, you will still have air in the system, that is is slowly comming out of the fluid. This will build up and lead to either noisy opertion and poor heat transfer or even airlocking.

The solution? Use an experienced, well trained and qualified solar heating engineer. Who has the correct equipment for the job. The clue is in the picture....

So far in 2013 we have found 26 systems with air locking problems, most were installed less than three years ago and many by big nationwide companies.
Thanks to huge pressure from the industry, the Government has finally increased the RHI Premium Payment (effectviely just a grant incentive) to £600.

This makes solar thermal more attractive for the householder, with a typcial system for 1-2 people costing from £2500 (excluding the grant).
And in even better news for the solar heating installers, the solar PV panel prices will be returning to normal after the EU has imposed a levy on Chinese imported panels, which were being sold in the EU at artficially low prices.