Warnings over unethical FREE solar PV offers

Lots of people are turning to renewable energy like solar and as a result companies that offer FREE solar PV installations are rising as well. PTS, a plumbing and heating merchant, warns over increasing unethical tactics being used by some companies offer free solar panel installations.

Some techniques involve installing solar panels on peoples home for free in exchange of feed-in-tariff that they will receive from Government. While some reputable companies that do it, offer free maintenance throughout their contract and use MCS approved installers, some unethical companies don’t offer such customer protection and targeting old, vulnerable customers leaving them unanswered questions about maintenance, resale value of home and increased insurance cost.

In some cases, they offer poor quality solar panels that are not good enough to generate enough electricity to power the house and exporting to national grid.

This unethical practices will harm people’s confidence in solar energy and should be stopped. Home owners are advised to check the company’s reputation before installing solar panels and to make sure they use MCS (Microgeneration Certification Scheme) approved installers and well known solar panel manufacturer brands. This is a one time investment for 25 years and don’t get carried away but some cheap sales tactics. Invest wisely and they will pay back.

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Prevent contact form spam without captcha

If you have a website, chances are, you have at least a contact form to allow visitors to send you messages. But most of us will get hit by spam bots and receive hundreds of enquiries which are time consuming to go through and identify and delete. When we launched our website(not this one), we got lots of enquiries coming as nice blog, nice post etc where it was not clearly a blog. We did not have any captcha protection as we thought captchas are not user friendly as most people don’t like to type captchas and are fed up with it. So we had to find a way to prevent these spam messages without using any sorts of captchas.

I came across a solution in a forum(can’t remember which one) and liked the idea to use hidden field to prevent spam. I am now going to explain how you could implement the solution(if you need) to prevent spam. Thus far, it worked 100% for us as we did not have any spam message since.

Step 1 : First add a text field in your form like any other text field and gave it a name using class or id. In the following case we call it spamkiller. :) You may already know that name attribute is used to get the response in the processing script.

<input type=”text” name=”spamkiller” id=”spamkiller” />

Step 2: Hide the field using CSS or Javascript or Jquery whatever you prefer but CSS are the easiest and simplest.

CSS : #spamkiller{display:none;}

Javascript: document.getElementByID(‘spamkiller’).display=’none';

Jquery: $(‘#spamkiller’).hide();

Step 3: Kill the spam. Now the processing script. I am going to explain it using PHP but it can be implemented in any server side language using the same idea. Get the field value using GET or POST method (depending which one you are using in the form ). In our case we are using POST as most form should be.

$spamkillervalue = $_POST[‘spamkiller’];

Now the killing part. Since the field is hidden, visitors of your site can’t see it and therefore the field should be empty. But spam bots are robots and they tend to fill all fields because they don’t know which one is required or not. So if the spamkillervalue is not empty, that must be a spam and just ignore it and don’t process the script any more. If it is empty, that most probably is a genuine message.




// Most probably genuine. process the script. Send you an email or log them in database. Of course you will be sanitizing the other field values.


//Ignore. Don’t do anything. You won’t know anything.


I hope you got an idea how it works. Now you can prevent spam without using any captchas and make your and your visitors life easier.

UPDATE: Some bots are getting clever enough to understand that it’s a trap and leave it alone. Better to use a name which bots are likely to fill such as email, phone etc. And make sure it is unique.

Solar PV installation : Is it worth it?

We all moan about the energy prices going up or interest rate going completely different way. But we have options to tackle both in more intelligent way. We can generate our own energy using solar power and our money stays with us (in our roof) which delivers significantly more return than putting them in the pig. But the best thing about it is that we are using natural energy and thus reducing the carbon footprint. Installing solar panel also increase the resell value of your house.

Solar energy came into the scene long ago but there were never better time than now to switch to it. Before there were debates whether solar panel installation worth it or not as some suggested it may take as long as 100 years to get the capital back of installing solar PV cells. But now as government approached to natural energy the payback time could be as little as 7 years.

Instalececo, local solar PV installer based in Bedfordshire, has a built in calculator where you can check how much you could save/make each year based on your current consumption rate and the payback time. You will earn every KWH of electricity you produce and you will be saving on your bills as you will be using your own energy. The money you will earn and save this way is tax free. Here are some numbers using the calculator which will give an idea about the solar PV installation.

Based on a 2.35KW PV installed :

Your earning per year £1155.74

  • Energy generated each year 2017KW
  • Energy you will use each year 2017KW
  • Feed in tariff earning 2017 KW X 43.3p = £873.36
  • Save on bills 2017 KW X 14p = £282.38
  • Total savings per year is £1155.74

Typical cost of installing 2.35 kw solar panel is £9550

Payback time is 8.26 years

This income is guaranteed for 25 years. So in 25 years your total earning will be £28893.
* Figures based on roof facing south with 30 degrees and no shadow.

As mentioned above, the government will pay on your generated energy for 25 years. By that time you have made much more than you would make putting them in bank and best of all,  you have done your bit for the environment.

So, solar PV installation is worth it. Because unlike financial institutions, the Sun won’t go bust or need bailout and will be there making you money as long as you are here.

Grand National : The Sad Side

600 million people watched Grand National today. It is one of the biggest horse racing event in the world. I watched it a bit, the last part where there were no falls. Then I read the report that two horses had been died today. I was shocked. Horse racing is not a safe thing to do for the horses. But the Grand National is probably the worst. Five horses died in 2009 and the similar numbers in the following year. This year the number is 3(2 today and 1 yesterday) Why we have to watch and enjoy something where we have to take the risks of killing some innocent animals? I know these horses are bred purely for racing purposes. I know they wouldn’t even exist if they are not for races. I know they live the best of their lives while they are alive and performing well. But still, why can’t we have a race (if we have to) where there is no or less risk of fatality. The pleasure of watching a race is gone the next moment when you hear about these sad deaths. Entertainment does not need to cost lives of some innocent horses. If it does, I don’t need entertainment.

The horses are:

  • Ornais
  • Dooney’s Gate
  • Inventor

RIP, you guys. I am ashamed to be a so called educated, knowledgeable, kind and posh human being.


Hi everyone

A blog is born in every minute, they say. This is just another one. I will be moaning about random things here. If you want me to add something interesting here then contact me and I will add it. Also feel free to comment or contact about anything you like or dislike.

First post done :) Thank you. See ya soon.