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SunGift News - July 2011

Celebrating our 250th PV installation
Welcome once again to SunGift News.

What an exceptional month it has been! While many people are preparing for summer holidays and spending some time in the sun, the team here at SunGift is making the most of those beautiful rays too and celebrating our 250th solar PV installation.

This is an exceptional achievement for us. At the same time as many installers are still getting to grips with the basic of renewables’ technologies, it’s very reassuring for me to know that not only have we carried out so many successful installations, but also we have a level of customer satisfaction that is among the best in the industry (see YouGen story below). Of course, our total number of renewables' installations is many hundreds more than this, as we fit a whole host of other technologies too. What’s more, we’ve got more new members of staff onboard this month and a new installation team (see stories below), who are helping ensure that our steady growth plans can be carried out effectively.

New in this month’s newsletter is a question and answer piece. Our aim is to answer one commonly asked question each month so that you are better informed. So, please take a look and let us know if you have any burning questions that you'd like answering. And, as always, if you have any renewables’-related queries, please get in touch at any time.

Here’s to our next 250 installations!

Gabriel Wondrausch
Managing director

SunGift is UK’s top rated installer
When it comes to getting advice on domestic renewable installations, Green Web Award winner YouGen is the number one UK website to visit for information, and here at SunGift we believe it is a true ‘people’s champion’.

With that in mind, imagine how happy we were when we found out that, UK-wide, we are the website’s top rated domestic renewables’ installer. That’s not their opinion either – it’s the opinion of SunGift customers who all gave us a ‘5 Star’ rating.

But rather than us raving anymore about our success, click here to take a look at YouGen’s list of recommended companies, (or to add your own review of our work).

First year's Feed-in Tariff figures are in...and they’re impressive!
The 12-month figures are now in for the first PV systems we installed after the Feed-in Tariffs came into play in July last year, and our customers have done exceptionally well. The 4 kWp systems we've fitted have (including the export tariff) earned between £1,528 and £1,883, generating up to a 14 per cent per cent return on investment in just one year.

Click here to find out how much you could earn from the Feed-in Tariffs. with a system fitted by SunGift.

Take a look at what we do
At SunGift we try not to be too shy, because we feel that the better you know us the more comfortable you’re going to feel using our services. So, to help you get to know us better and to find out more about what we do, we’ve put together a short video about our services.

It’s a relaxed look at renewables, the work we do, and some of the systems we’ve fitted for satisfied customers – including leading environmentalist Adam Hart Davis.

Why not click here to take a look, pass the link onto your friends, and let us know what you think.

‘Multi-roof’ PV system is perfect solution for Devon house
When a Newton Ferrers resident wanted solar PV fitted to his property, he thought that – due to his house’s many different-sized roofs – it might be unachievable. After all, how could he have a solar PV array with panels in so many places?

Thankfully we had the answer – a multi-roof PV system, using the latest technology.

The breakthrough technology that we fitted allows each solar panel in a system to operate independently. By custom-designing these parts into the project in Newton Ferrers, we were able to fit each solar panel separately onto every bit of available roof space, maximize the renewable electricity produced, and complete a system that is set to make around £1,300 per year for its owner.

“I’m exceptionally pleased with my installation, and it’s already performing beyond my expectations,” said SunGift’s happy customer. “In less than three months since I had my panels fitted, they’ve generated £484 in Feed-in Tariff payments, and I’m constantly checking my monitors to see how much they’ve generated each day.”

Click here to find out more about SunGift Solar's tailor-made solar PV solutions

£1,250 towards your renewable heat installation
We’ve been waiting some time, but the government has finally agreed on how much they’ll give you to help reduce the upfront cost of installing eligible renewable heat technologies (if you get them fitted between 21 July 2011 and 31 March 2012).

And they’re not shy about dishing out the £15 million that they’ve put aside for the grants either, as they’ve just launched a phone line and microsite dedicated to giving you information about it.

So, as long as your property is ‘off gas grid’ (and you have your system fitted by a government-accredited installer like SunGift) you can apply for £1,250 towards the cost of a ground source heat pump, £950 towards a biomass boiler, or £850 towards an air source heat pump. Anyone, regardless of their gas situation, can apply for a £300 grant towards a solar thermal installation.

The only down side of the government’s push on this is that the £15 million is likely to go quickly, and they won’t be funding any further installations. So, if you’re interested, head to their website quickly to get the form, then head back to us for a quote.

Click here for more information and to register your interest

To organise a site survey and get a quote from us, call our team on on 01392 213912.

New installation team to satisfy demand
We’re proud of the steady way SunGift Solar is growing, and the level of interest in our installations has meant that this month we’ve upped our game once again by launching a new solar PV installation team to give us more capacity.

That means that – in addition to our specialist surveyors and designers – we now have enough teams to do 12 installs per week.

Each dedicated installation team is packed with knowledge and experience and includes a trained and qualified roofing specialist and electrical engineer – all backed up by dedicated staff at the SunGift office.

Click here to the see the SunGift review page on the YouGen website to see what customers think of our installation teams

Ground source heat pump success for ‘off gas grid’ listed building
Brian Clarke owns a beautiful 500-year-old grade 2 listed thatched cottage in Axminster, which is off the gas grid. When he decided to upgrade his heating system he wanted a solution that was flexible and would blend into the the property’s characteristics.

After doing some of his own research Brian contacted many suppliers, but chose SunGift Solar as he says “I knew I could trust you guys. You were up front and honest from day one, and your customer service is second to none.” So, after giving him a detailed quote, Brian commissioned us to install a 16 kW Daikin air-to-water-source heat pump system.

With the need for planning permission and extra thick walls, the listed building presented us with a challenge, but we’d soon installed an outdoor unit, exchanged the electric night storage heaters and wood burners for water-fed radiators, and connected the heat pump to his system.

"It fits in perfectly with the character of our house,” added Brian, "and the installation went very smoothly. The SunGift team could not have been more helpful – and they were efficient and extremely pleasant.”

Click here for more information on SunGift’s heat pump solutions and to see if they are suitable for your home.

Renewable energy question of the month
What’s the difference between kilowatts peak (kWp) and kilowatt hours (kWh)?
Oh, the amount of times we've been asked this question! And it’s very important to know the answer to this, because two different systems that have the same kWp rating will generate very different amounts of electricity for you.

Kilowatt peak (kWp)
Kilowatt peak (kWp) is the unit used to measure the maximum power that the array could produce under standard test conditions (1,000 watts per square metre at a temperature of 25 degrees centigrade).

Kilowatt hours (kWh)
One kilowatt hour is 1000 watts, produced over a period of one hour (it's what your energy company calls a unit).

Standard laboratory conditions are rarely reproduced in the real world, so on SunGift Solar’s PV array at our offices we’ve tested five of the top performing panels, and found that – per kilowatt peak – there is a 4.1 per cent difference in output between the top and bottom performing panels. Other independent tests, have shown up to 12 per cent differences between our best performing panels and the worst performing ones on the market. So, if you’ve got a 4 kWp system on your house, the right panels could earn you around £4,000 more than the wrong ones.

Click here to find out more about SunGift’s test array and how the panels are performing in this part of the country.

Come and see us a Cornwall exhibition
We’re out and about again, and this time you can come and see us at the former Gaia Centre in Delabole on 28 and 29 July, where Cornwall Council is running a Renewable Energy Conference and Exhibition. The exhibition is at the site of the Delabole wind farm – the UK’s first commercial wind farm – and we’ll be welcoming businesses to come and visit us on day 1 and communities and householders to come and see us on day 2.

Click here to find out more about the event and to get tickets to come and see us

New starter Gareth will drive forward commercial work
New to SunGift this month is Gareth Walton, our new business development manager. A former Greenpeace climate campaign manager and director of the Devon Sustainable Business Initiative, Gareth will be helping us drive forward our business with domestic customers, while helping us build relationships with businesses and other commercial organisations. So, if you’re a business that’s considering renewable energy, he’s your man.

Gareth joins us from Regen SW and the Energy Saving Trust, where he was the regional microgeneration co-ordinator. And when he’s not embroiled in renewables he’s either spending time with his wife and two children, or playing sports. To find out more about how SunGift can help your business incorporate a renewable energy solution, contact Gareth at