Harrogate Borough Council’s cabinet has approved proposals to install solar panels on around 300 council homes across the district, a move which will greatly reduce tenants’ energy bills.
The installations will form the second stage of the council’s solar photovoltaic (PV) project, and support the authority’s priority of working to reduce our impact on the natural environment by reducing carbon emissions.
Solar photovoltaic panels generate electricity from the sun’s energy. This electricity can then be used to run household appliances and lighting, while surplus energy can be sold back to the grid.
Earlier this year 104 council owned bungalows were fitted with solar PV panels ranging in size from 1.75 to 4 kW. The panels have the potential to save tenants up to £241 a year in energy costs depending upon a system’s size and use. It is estimated that once phase two has been completed, council homes fitted with PV panels will reduce CO2 emissions across the district by over 600 tonnes per year.
The properties which are to have the PV panels installed are yet to be determined, however the project will prioritise the most vulnerable households first, concentrating on council owned bungalows which are predominantly occupied by the elderly. Tenants will receive the installations free of charge and will not be expected to pay for their maintenance. Work is set to begin in the autumn and it is envisaged that it will be completed by the end of 2016.
The £1.5 million project will be financed by the council’s Housing Revenue Account and will be recouped over 14 years through income generated via the Government’s Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme.
Councillor Mike Chambers, Harrogate Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Safer Communities said:
We are committed to encouraging low carbon energy solutions across the district. By installing renewable energy technology in council homes tenants will be able to benefit from free, clean electricity.
This project will help residents to reduce their fuel bills, while also reducing the district’s carbon footprint, creating a greener environment for the whole community.