Case study: Andrew and Fiona, Pevensey

Eco features: Solar Thermal + Solar PV + Well insulated

Andrew and Fiona live in a 4 bedroomed house in Pevensey.

Approximately ten years ago they had 16 solar PV panels installed to generate electricity. The solar PV panels provide enough electricity to run an electric car, an electric bike and an electric cooker as well as other household items.

Three years ago they had two solar thermal panels installed on their roof to heat their hot water.

Fiona and Andrew Durling
Andrew and Fiona Durling

Solar Thermal

  • The Kit: Two 2m2 Wagner flat plate solar collectors, with pump to transfer the heat to the hot water cylinder, plus expansion chambers. The collectors have a dark anodized coating on an aluminium frame which gives them the appearance of skylights.
  • The total cost: £3735
    (includes all fixtures and fitting)
  • This cost excludes the hot water cylinder which was needed to store water collected.
  • Suppliers/fitters: DH Solar Engineering
  • Outcomes: The solar thermal system supplies all their hot water needs throughout the summer, and partially heats water during the winter. The estimated energy supplied by this system annually is 1654 kWh
  • Grants: Solar thermal systems are eligible for repayments under the Renewable Heating Incentive Scheme. This works out at £331.80 a year for seven years, or a total of £2322.55. This goes a long way to offset the original outlay and is in addition to the savings they make through reduced energy bills. The RHI scheme is open for new applications until March 2022.
  • For more information on Solar thermal see the Energy Saving Trust website.
  • Andrew talks about his experience with their solar thermal system in the video below.
Two solar thermal panels on the roof, surrounded by solar PV panels.
Two flat plate solar thermal panels surrounded by solar PV panels.
Hot water cylinder with gas boiler, pipework and expansion chambers

The hot water storage cylinder with expansion chambers and pipework.

Solar PV panels

They have 16 solar PV panels: Eight on the front roof and eight on a South West facing roof.

The solar panels have a capacity to provide a maximum of 3.7KWh of electricity at any one time, (the amount generated depends upon the amount of sunlight, the angle of sunlight, time of day and year.)

The predicted total amount of energy generated during the year was 3,000 kWh per year. The actual output has been 32,000 kWh over 10 years, so better than predicted.

They bought their solar panels ten years ago when feed-in tariffs were at their peak. Under their FIT (feed in tariff) contract they get paid 55p per KWh generated and an extra 4p per kWh that is deemed surplus to their needs and gets automatically exported to the grid.

house with eight solar panels and two flat plate thermal panels on the roof. electric car in foreground.


The house has cavity wall insulation and over the years Andrew and Fiona have been improving the insulation adding Celotex panels and rock wool into roof spaces and other voids. All their windows are now double-glazed and they have thick curtains to draw across their doors and windows on cold nights.

Renewable energy

In this session we will explore community energy schemes and options for renewable energy.

Keynote: Community energy in East Sussex,
Chris Rowland, Ovesco

Session recording

Program 12:15 – 13:05

  • 12:15 Introduction to the resources
  • 12:20 Community Energy Schemes – Chris Rowland, Ovesco
  • 12:35 Renewable heat energy in your home: what are the options – Olly Healey, Ohm Energy
  • 12:45 Q & A with panellists: Chris Rowland, Olly Healey, Jason Lindfield, Rachel Fryer, Becky and Roy Francombe.

If you’d like to ask our panel a question, we recommend you look at the relevant resources below first. You can ask your question at the live event, or you can send us your question in advance using the link below.


Resources to support the session:

If you are looking for a renewable energy solution for your home, doing your own research and getting independent advice before you begin is essential. The Energy Saving Trust is a great place to start as they provide free, easy to understand information on their website and they are not trying to sell you anything. They also have online energy tools and calculators to help you work out how whether solar energy or wind energy are good solutions for your home.

Grants and Funding available for renewable energy solutions

New heat pump grant from 2022

New grants for households replacing gas boilers with low carbon heat pumps were announced on 19th October. The grants/subsidies of £5000 towards the cost of the heat pump will be available from 2022, but the total amount of money set aside will only be enough for 90,000 households. More details to follow.

Renewable Heat Incentive

The RHI is a government scheme to support renewable heating systems like heat pumps and wood boilers. If you install a system that meets all the scheme requirements, you can be paid for every unit of renewable heat you produce for a number of years. There are two RHI schemes – the domestic RHI is for households with a renewable heating system just for the one home. The current RHI scheme is open to applications until March 2022. Find out more about RHI here.

Using this calculator, you can find an estimate of how much you will receive under the renewable heat incentive

Export tariff

Export tariffs are payments made when you sell surplus energy units back to your electricity supplier. The current rate is 5.24p per unit of electricity. There is usually a CAP on the amount of energy you can sell back to your supplier, but you can apply to have the level of the CAP increased.

Information on the Octopus Energy Export Tariff scheme.

Other grants and funding schemes

Feed-in tariffs were closed to applications in April 2019. This government scheme was to encourage people to generate renewable energy.

The Green Homes Grant introduced September 2020 and scheduled to run until March 2022, was closed a year early in March 2021. This has left a funding hole, while we wait to see whether the government has anything planned to replace it. The Eastbourne Eco Action Network will continue to monitor information on new funding schemes. Meanwhile, it is worth doing your research and exploring your options, so you are ready to install as soon as new schemes are available.

Your Q and A panel

  • Chris Rowland: Director of OVESCO IPS, Ovesco CIC & Ovesco Sunny Solar Schools
  • Jason Lindfield: Director of Ohm Energy
  • Olly Healey: Ohm Energy
  • Rachel Fryer – Newhaven homeowner (eco features: MVHR Air source heat pump and Solar Panels)
  • Becky and Roy Francomb – Seaford homeowner (eco features: Air source heat pump and Solar Panels)