A number of flats in Stirling, Scotland, are set to receive an array of solar panels in order to help residents cut down on both carbon emissions and future energy bills.
Although concerns have been raised that the council initiative might set a precedent in the area, the scheme is set to go ahead. Stirling Council implemented the initiative after the discovery that residents were spending up to half of their income on the payment of energy bills.
Stirling Council's planning panel pushed through the programme following a majority vote and panels will now be installed on the front of the roof of 53-57 Lower Bridge Street. Council planners recommended that the application should be refused, due to the panels potentially ruining the look of the area. However, this request failed.
The houses are mostly used as temporary accommodation for homeless people on low incomes. Housing services staff have noted that a number of the residents try to avoid high heating bills by just living in a single room.
As reported by the Stirling Observer, officers have said that without the installation of panels, the building would fail the current Scottish government's standards of energy efficiency.
“The installation of solar PV panels would greatly assist in alleviating fuel poverty through generation of ‘free’ electricity, in addition to ensuring the housing service meet the Scottish Housing Quality Standard by 2015,” the officers went on to say.
Council planners opposed the scheme on the basis that the panels would be "detrimental" to the appearance of the building, as well as the nearby conservation area and Stirling Castle, featured behind and above the property. However, the scheme was eventually passed despite councillors Neil Benny and Margaret Brisley agreeing with the planners.
The solar panels will be black, in order to provide the minimal visual impact to the area. Once installed, a number of people will be able to benefit from lower energy bills.