Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Solar-Active to celebrate 19 years of plugging into the sun

 Solar-Active [Schools & Homes Energy Education Project Ltd] is to mark its 19th birthday with a celebration/AGM Thursday 26th January 2012 6pm-9pm at the Sheffield Hallam University Owen Building, Peak Lecture Theatre. This event is kindly supported by the South Yorkshire Network of the Institution of Engineering and Technology.
Solar-Active have worked with schools
& communities nationwide for 19 Years

A brief Annual General Meeting will be followed by a lively panel discussion. The focus of the discussion will be the future of renewable energy at a time of government cuts, and how ‘green’ policies could provide an alternative to current austerity measures.

The panel will include:
The panel discussion will be followed by information Q&A sessions covering topics such as feed-in tariffs, solar technology in education and home energy saving/efficiency.

The celebration will go on with refreshments and live music from Rockett 88. Solar-Active will also be asking for ‘solar-wishes’ from guests for the cake-cutting ceremony!  

David Garlovsky, Project Director of Schools & Homes Energy Education Project/Solar-Active, said: “It’s important that we celebrate our 19 years to thank all our volunteers and supporters, whilst also offering people the chance to learn more about renewable energy and low cost measures for energy saving”

You can register FREE for this event and pre-submit a question to the expert panel at:  Any organisations or companies who are interested in having a stall at this event can contact Solar-Active via email at:

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Solar-Active bringing physics into everyday life

Solar-Active will be providing a course entitled: Plugging into the Sun to Achieve STEM Outcomes and Targets’ (BC76) at the ASE National Annual Conference, 7th January, 2pm-4pm at the University of Liverpool. The aim of the course is to show physics in a new light, whilst demonstrating how solar energy can be used in everyday life giving employable and enterprising skills.
Photo of our stand at recent TES Resource Show

This course will provide hands-on training using Solar-Active’s renewable energy resources and a ‘let me do it, I’ll understand’ approach to teaching and learning which has been successfully used nationwide for 19 years.

Participants will construct solar cars, boats and other solar devices to bring discovery and excitement into the teaching and learning of physics. Teachers will be shown how they can achieve STEM outcomes/targets and embed renewable energy into the curriculum using solar technologies.

The fee for this course is £40. For this fee you receive a 50% discount on Solar-Active PV cells and solar resources valued at £30.

Solar-Active’s unique flexible solar cells have significant output under diffuse light conditions- ideal for our UK climate. These resources and teaching approach have helped to make physics shine in schools for example Shelley College (Huddersfield) commented that they were “happy with Solar-Active cells. They are robust, efficient with significant output on a dull winter’s day.”

To sign up for the course go to


Monday, 12 December 2011

'We need to problem solve, not blame'

RE: “New solar plan is victim of cut” – by David Walsh, News Reporter, The Star 6th December 2012

The Feed-in Tariff (FITs) scheme was set-up to ‘kick-start’ the PV industry. I fully support the scheme, yet it has been poorly devised and is un-equitable. A low income household, even on fuel poverty, will pay a subsidy on their electricity bill to the energy supplier - and this will be then passed on to households that can afford FITs installations.

The new tariff at 21p/kWh is within the lifespan of the array. I don’t see why the Sheffield City Council is axing their Solar-City plan. The effect of free electricity may make to a fuel poor house is significant. I believe it might even bring people out of fuel poverty!

Support to the fuel poor electricity costs is necessary e.g. FITs and vouchers for purchasing low energy appliances.

The cost of the PV FITs installations are reducing thus effecting payback period – We need to ask: what subsidy is appropriate for the reduced payback period?

I do not support the Liberal Democrats supporting the Conservative Party in their coalition to reduce the tariff to 21p, and in some cases 9p, but would agree that even though the payback would be over a longer period of time, the Solar City project could still be viable. We need to problem solve, not blame. This goes for both the Labour and Liberal Democrat Sheffield City Council members.

Sheffield tenants will lose out because both Labour and the Liberal Democrats have chosen to blame, not problem solve, to come up with solutions to improve the local people’s lives.

This is truly a superb exercise in “cutting off your nose, to spite your face”, although in this case, it’s “cutting the nose off council tenants, to spite the coalition government”.

David Garlovsky,
Project Director at Solar-Active

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Solar-Active hopes D&T continues to shine

The Solar-Active team is lending its support to the national ‘Believe in D&T’ campaign. Solar-Active has been working with schools, both locally and nationally, for nineteen years, using solar devices and a hands-on ‘let me do it and I’ll understand’ approach to learning. Solar-Active’s work helps to teach young people about renewable energy whilst fostering enthusiasm and attainment in D&T and STEM subjects.

The ‘Believe in D&T’ campaign was launched in reaction to a National Curriculum Review created in January this year, in which the government consults schools about the possibility of major changes including slimming down the curriculum. This move could signal a bleak future for D&T as only Maths, English, Science and P.E would be considered compulsory. Subjects like D&T would therefore become optional and individual schools could choose not to teach them.

David Garlovsky, Project Director at Solar-Active, feels passionately that D&T has a vital role in the future of education: ‘If the government does cut D&T from the national curriculum it would be terrible, not only for the economy, but also for the young people. Our problem solving approach that recognizes that we all can learn the trial and improvement, helps to give the young people confidence and employable skills at a time when there is high unemployment’.

If, like Solar-Active, you believe that Design and Technology should be a mainstay in the national curriculum, then you can join the online ‘Believe in D&T’ campaign by signing their petition at This campaign is already backed by thousands including household names such as Sir James Dyson, Sir Terence Conran and Dame Ellen MacArthur.