Click on the images....
As it happens, the NEC is a stone's throw from my home - so I had no excuse to pay them a visit. (O.K. I exaggerate: a stone and a catapult, perhaps half a mile.)
I turned up late - 19:00, an hour before they shut up shop. Gareth, 2 lecturers from Bedford College, NEC officers, and several other visitors were present.
This is always an interest for me, and to have a sulking display welcome me was ideal. The display was a well made "guts exposed" assembly on a trolley. It showed all the components required for a domestic solar heated water installation.
The water wasn't circulating. The top of the panel was hot - too hot to keep your hand on. Yes, the pump was turning, but cavitating. Before I could transform myself into "Mr Fix It", the lecturers had bled air from the system, and all started to work as it should.
Still a good excuse to get talking. We discussed water flow rates, angles to the sun, and all good technical stuff.
The course at Bedford is an intensive weekend building up a solar water panel, and you get a panel at the end of it. Similar to CAT, but there you get fed well instead of a panel.
There is no short term pay back with PV, but solar heated water was fine and is promoted by the NEC and Bedford College.
(Using less hot water in the first place may also be the answer!)
The reason for the exorbitant prices in the UK for PV panels is that they're hiked for the German market. The German government subsidises private PV installations. Am I being bitter and too cynical?
Just surf the web: dollar for pound pricing!
Perhaps I should import PV's from China or India for a living?
We need our government to get its finger out and give some incentives! Germany has the 100,000 roofs program. I'm getting militant!
Wood burners are a bit low tech - so my interest factor is lacking. Although they are pleasant to sit by when you had a big dinner with some Aussie Red Wine, and it's snowing outside...
bade my farewell.
May be next year I'll organise a Sun Day event with some friends.
Last year's solar homes tour