The case for including voltage optimisation in the Green Deal


Apollo Enviro says the technology could help thousands of companies save on their electricity bills while cutting emissions

The Green Deal is going to be the government's flagship energy efficiency scheme, due for release later this year.

The idea is that commercial and domestic properties will be able to install energy efficiency measures at no upfront cost and then repay for the installation directly through an extra line in their energy bills, whereby the monthly savings outweigh the costs of repayment.

The Green Deal is expected to generate massive savings for UK homes and businesses with no upfront costs. We think voltage optimisation has plenty to bring to the table; as an energy efficiency technology which has already proven itself in commercial and domestic situations it is widely accepted as an extremely cost effective efficiency investment. Voltage optimisation has a much quicker payback period and greater percentage savings on electricity consumption than solar PV panels, for example.

The technology has already been installed at No. 10, the Department of Energy and Climate Change's offices, numerous Environment Agency offices and various other government buildings.

But at present, voltage optimisation is not included in the list of technologies approved for the Green Deal, even though there are many commercial properties yet to benefit.

So what's behind this?

First, there is a misunderstanding over the technology. It's understood the system that evaluates improvement measures is a computer programme, broadly based upon the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) software which has been in use for years.

EPCs have historically focused on insulation and as such, the system is currently limiting in its efficacy to assess other energy efficiency technologies. As voltage optimisation requires consideration of numerous, quite extensive parameters, a more in depth assessment program would be required to include the technology.

However this additional time investment in the initial system would easily pay off for end-users of the Green Deal if they can take advantage of voltage optimisation alongside the more traditional energy efficiency measures, like insulation.

Second, while some newer domestic properties may not benefit a great deal from voltage optimisation, these are in the minority and even they would still experience some savings. The majority of domestic properties could potentially achieve significant savings on their electricity bills and carbon emissions. Savings on electric bills are becoming increasingly important as energy costs are rising and will only continue to rise in the future.

A 10 per cent domestic saving might be impressive on the present 15p/kWh, but what if you were paying 30p/kWh in five to 10 years time? With reports that fuel poverty is on the rise - everything possible needs to be done to help people afford their anticipated energy cost rises and 10 per cent could be worth a lot more in the future.

Equally, the commercial sector have been benefiting from voltage optimisation for years. It works for those who've installed it, but there are thousands of organisations and companies who still haven't taken advantage of it yet - maybe due to a lack of understanding/trust in the sector or simply a lack of initial capital.

The Green Deal could help overcome both these barriers. Additionally, increased demand due to the Green Deal would likely bring down the costs of voltage optimisation as suppliers sell more units.

This would likely open it up to even more commercial properties whose owners only look at projects with exceptionally short payback periods, or where the higher initial costs have put them off in the past.

The latest news is that the whole proposition is being discussed further, following the recent mention in the House of Lords. Hopefully we will still see the inclusion of voltage optimisation in the Green Deal once it is reviewed in the coming months.

This sponsored content was provided by Apollo Enviro

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