What we learned this week

Great to see the ‘right to repair’ being discussed in both the US and the EU – a legal obligation to make appliances repairable is an important step towards reducing obsolescence and waste.

My co-author Katherine Trebeck was interviewed on Good Morning Scotland this weekend, all about the book and her work with the Wellbeing Economy Alliance. You can listen in here, starting at 30.20.

Bjorn Lomborg rightly points out that we shouldn’t declare ‘mission accomplished’ when those without electricity get lighting and enough to charge a phone. But he’s wrong to conflate micro-solar with micro-grids, dismiss them both and call for connection to the national grid.

Besides, it’s not for us to decide. If you ask people in rural India which they prefer, they choose a micro-grid. Why? Because it’s more reliable and it’s locally controlled – you know who to call if it goes wrong.

British households installing solar will be able to sell their excess electricity after all – the government have announced a market-based ‘smart export guarantee’ to replace their own. Fine, but why on earth didn’t they announce this first, or at the same time as scrapping the other one? It would have avoided months of panic, pulled solar orders and negative headlines.

Meanwhile in Australia, the number of domestic solar PV installations has crossed the 2 million mark, meaning one in five households has solar power. And why not? We have to be a bit more patient in Britain with our dark winters, but PV is now cheap enough to pay for itself in 5 years in Australia.


  1. Jeremy this is not that great news. First I am with a supplier that has less than 250000 customers so I won’t get anything. Second last I heard there were no smart meters that were compatible with solar systems. Unless this has changed. Third although I have an export meter although our output has become deemed again. This along with the standing connection charge for those with PV systems is very bad news. This latter item will not only wipe out savings for all those who have installed over the last few years but these systems will be running at a loss.

    1. Details are scant at the moment, but my impression was that you could join any scheme, regardless of your own supplier. It would be a separate contract from your electricity and gas, and that would encourage companies to come up with more generous offers and compete for micro-generators. I certainly hope so, because I’m with Ecotricity and they don’t have 250,000 customers yet.

      I have solar and a smart meter, and the meter logs exports. It’s only been in for a month though, so it may be very new on the market.

      As for the standing charge, that’s unfortunate and does change the economics for households. That’s still a recommendation at the moment though I believe, rather than policy?

      No, it’s not great news – but it is better than nothing and it should ensure that solar will pay for itself, if not turn a profit the way it did for early adopters.

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