Meet our new regular columnist Kevin Holland, MD of a Norfolk renewables company, who will be writing about all things green

Have you ever wondered why so many of your neighbours have had solar panels installed in recent years?

And it’s not just here in the UK that homeowners and businesses are embracing solar and battery tech like it’s going out of fashion.  

Globally, solar has recently overtaken oil with more investment in solar than oil for the first-time last year.

The end of oil is going to be very painful for some, none more so for those who do not yet understand the real cost of oil.  It’s not all about the £1.40 a litre we pay at the pumps, it’s about where it comes from, what we have to do to secure the flow and what damage does it do?

When we set up our business in 2008, it was to install solar thermal systems. The oil wars in the Middle East were raging, oil prices rocketed and the banks were crashing.  

Our clients were tired of seeing the body bags come back from the middle east and the dirty politics that surrounded oil and as a massive proportion of houses in East Anglia are off the gas grid, it makes sense to use the power of the sun to heat water or since 2010, generate electricity.  

As an EV owner for almost eight years now, I still giggle at the age-old arguments that are repeated about infrastructure or where are we going to get the electricity from?

Well let’s put a few of those mis-conceptions to bed, shall we?

There are more public charge points in the UK than petrol pumps, not that we have ever used one.  For eight years. we have used a three pin ‘granny charger’ that comes with all EVs and trickled the energy into the car from the excess solar we generate.  Two years ago, we did 4,500 miles and it cost us £66 for the year!  That was for the energy we needed when the sun wasn’t shining.

Zero emissions, virtual cost-free motoring and the amount of carbon we have saved from dirtying the atmosphere gives us a warm glow when we set off to the shops or doctors or hospital as you do when looking after an oldie!

And our EV is second hand.  Two years old when we purchased it and it still has 93% of the its original battery capacity so when I hear that we need to replace batteries every five years or so I just smile and pity whoever is repeating the false narrative perpetuated by the ever-diminishing right wing national newspapers that prop up the old politics and old way of doing things.

Many of us have moved on and most of us will.

And with regards to solar batteries, did you know the average residential battery has around 3kg of lithium in it and the average family EV, no more than 8kg of lithium?

And that lithium is used day after day, week after week, month after month and year after year, unlike diesel which we refine and burn just once before having to refill.  Where’s the sense in that when we know we have the solutions?

Solar on houses, with a decent battery could save homeowners between £1,200 and £2,000 a year and that saving increases every time energy prices rise.  Talk about talking back control.

It’s exactly what over one million UK homeowners have done in recent years.

Globally, over one third of residential energy now comes from renewables, some reports suggest as much as 50%, with a handful of countries already at 100% renewable.

Totally green grids and guess what?  The lights stay on, businesses function, cars still run and people survive, but they pay much less than we do, have cleaner air to breathe than we do and have certainty over their energy supplies as energy independent nations.

Solar, wind and tidal energy are seen as the future for many.

 For some of us, we call it normal.