The Durham Aged Mineworkers’ Homes Association (DAMHA) has launched an initiative to put solar panels on the roof of any new build.

Any property that DAMHA currently owns will also be eligible for solar panels, as long as it is a viable move. Some properties currently in DAMHA’s possession are over 70 years old. The solar panels will add a modern feature to the older buildings.

Saving money for new residents is one of the priorities of the solar panel project, but DAMHA wants to make sure that all existing occupants do not miss out on the highly beneficial installations.

A total of 50 properties currently have solar panels installed under the programme, with 32 of these located in Easington. Occupants of these homes are already observing the cost and environmental benefits the panels offer.

Hazel Whinn of Hopper Street has not yet had the panels installed on her home, but is looking forward to seeing her heating bills come down. The 69-year-old thinks it is great that her old property can still receive the benefits of modern technology.

The initiative should be continuing throughout the year and despite costing in excess of a quarter of a million pounds, the gas bills for the solar panelled installed homes are expected to be cut by 15 per cent.

Head of asset management at DAMHA Brian Stobbs said: “Unfortunately, we can’t provide them on every property due to factors such as where the houses are in location to the sun, but this is still a significant investment, as well as demonstrating our commitment to the environment.”

DAMHA has been helping out the elderly with housing since 1898, originally providing former mineworkers with accommodation. However, the organisation is now accessible by anyone over 50. One of the largest Almshouse charities in the country, DAMHA provides 1,700 homes for people across the north-east.