Social housing solar success

December 7, 2012

The cost of living is rising and the majority of the 'Big Six' energy companies in the UK recently raised the price of their fuel tariffs, pushing even more people across the line into fuel poverty.

In an attempt to combat this, a social housing initiative, Newark and Sherwood Homes, has announced that it plans to install photovoltaic (PV) systems on the roofs of some 135 houses across the area.

This is the second wave of solar panel installations undertaken by the group. Last year, over 300 houses received solar panels in order to reduce the cost of their electricity bills. Elderly and vulnerable tenants were given priority.

Commenting on the installation, Jolene Gray from Newark and Sherwood Homes, said: "The feedback we have had from residents has been very positive. They have been impressed with how quickly the panels have been fitted and how they can benefit from reductions in their energy usage throughout the daylight hours.

"We are committed to reducing the carbon footprint of our homes and are looking forward to helping even more residents to benefit."

Newark and Sherwood Homes is responsible for around 5,000 properties and it is hoped that similar housing associations will recognise the benefits of installing solar panels and will do the same.

As well as reducing the cost of their annual fuel bill, solar panels can also generate revenue thanks to the government's Feed in Tariff (FiT) – any electricity produced and used by the house and produced and exported to the national grid is financially compensated.

Andy Dewberry, assistant director – asset and development services, said: "Tenants will benefit from over £100 per annum of free electricity and the future income generated from the Feed in Tariff can be reinvested to support housing services for all tenants and benefit the community as a whole."

Combined, the reduction in electricity usage in a house fitted with solar panels and money generated thanks to the FiT, averages at £635 a year, according to the Energy Saving Trust.

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