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Prescott sees the sunlight at last

September 1, 2009

Former Deputy PM John Prescott revealed recently that he’s having solar panels installed at his home.

Hopefully it’ll prove a successful and sound investment, and that before too long he’ll be expounding the joys of solar in his own inimitable way.  But surely he could have saved himself some money if he’d made sure he kept hold of the solar panels installed on the roof of his Hull residence by some Greenpeace protestors a few years ago?

The activists, who were highlighting the apparent failure of his department to improve the energy efficiency of the UK’s homes, also gave him some energy-saving lightbulbs and loft insulation material, the value of their gifts adding up to £4000.

He has missed out on four years of solar energy.  Still, his decision is timely: last week saw the launch of the New Earth Deal, headed by his good self, an initiative from the Council of Europe pushing for global agreement on climate change ahead of the Copenhagen conference in December.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Jasper permalink
    September 3, 2009 11:24 am

    Some say that encouraging small individual actions such as installing solar panels won’t do anything to tackle the climate change threat and that efforts should be concentrated instead on big geo-engineering projects such as placing huge mirrors on the moon to deflect the sun’s rays.

    But small, personal steps do add up if they get noticed by policymakers – who can then go into the complex negotiations of something like the Copenhagen Summit later this year knowing that they have a core of support behind them, and will have more credibility when it comes to convincing the less enthusiastic nations to join them in a major, decisive action.

  2. September 3, 2009 11:45 am

    Sadly Mr Prescotts comment was “I’m thinking about installing solar panels”. Personally I’m thinking about what I will do when I win the next roll-over! As with almost all labour’s comments, strong on words and spin, exceedingly weak on action!

  3. September 7, 2009 12:29 pm

    Totally agree with the view that small individual actions count, surely they count far more than big Govt actions!

    A million people installing solar water heating systems would mean an immediate saving of a million times the carbon cost of heating that water, if they were all oil fired, that could be – based on my experience upwards of 1,000 litres per year per system! Fewer oil tanker movements etc.. at a stretch a million tonnes of oil equivalent every year! I think that’s approaching 4 million tonnes of CO2 ?? that’s not being emmitted – after the carbon cost of the panels is paid for!

    There was a politician / energy businessman saying that putting Solar PV on roofs was inefficient, that they shoudl all be in big power stations. Surely that’s counter intuitive, solar on a british roof – the area is otherwise unused, there are no supply line losses and the domestic owner is going to pay up front for a part of the installation cost! Finacially and in terms of energy, it seems far more sensible to use existing roofs!

  4. solarukweblog permalink*
    September 8, 2009 10:54 am

    The roofs of hotels also seem to be underexploited. The demand for hot water is certainly there: we all take more showers when we’re on holiday, and there is also the swimming pool to heat. In a hot country, 70% or more of a hotel’s hot water needs could be met. Apparently, Austria leads the way – according to the statistics I have (which might be slightly out-of-date) 13% of its hotels and restaurants have solar heating systems. But elsewhere in the world, in countries much sunnier than the land of Mozart and The Sound of Music, uptake has been surprisingly slow.

  5. September 8, 2009 11:09 am

    Totally agree with your comment about hotels. (perhaps add hairdressing salons)

    On my own weblog :

    I look at Egypt in particular, we stayed at a German / Austrian hotel not a panel in sight! They appear to leach off the subsidised fuel so don’t have the incentive to save money and energy.

    The British Foreign Office is also sadly lacking in solar panels for all teh statements and platitudes from our own Mr Milliband.

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