Solar scheme plan for council tenants revealed

Man installs solar panels on the roof of a building.
Man installs solar panels on the roof of a building.
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An initiative that will see solar panels installed on the roofs of Doncaster council houses to generate income is set to be considered by the Mayor and her Cabinet.

The pilot scheme worth £438,000, which would see solar photovoltaic panels being installed on 164 properties saving tenants up to £200 on their energy bills, is currently being considered.

If the plans go ahead, the fitting of the solar panels will tie in with re-roofing works being undertaken by St Leger Homes in the Highfields area and all tenants in this phase will be consulted regarding the decision to install solar.

Mayor of Doncaster, Ros Jones, said: “The solar panel scheme being considered would save tenants thousands of pounds over the longer term and offers them protection against rising electricity costs in the future. At a time when the council’s budget is under pressure due to government cuts, the guaranteed income delivered by the scheme is new money that can support vital services. By introducing schemes like this and the Big Power Switch we are helping to bring down the cost of living and tackle fuel poverty.”

The initiative is set to be discussed in further detail at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, March 18.

on Wednesday 18 March 2015.

Subject to suitability of roofs and electricity grid connection,

The government offers a guaranteed incentive through its Feed in Tariff (FIT) scheme providing a payment for all the electricity generated and an additional sum for unused electricity exported to the local grid. The council will receive an income which makes its scheme profitable, while tenants save money by receiving free energy produced by the solar panels.

Susan Jordan, Chief Executive of St. Leger Homes, added: “We are aware of the pressures of rising energy bills and are fully committed to exploring possibilities for offsetting these increased costs wherever possible. We have already introduced energy efficient works into our properties such as double glazing, better insulation and more efficient boilers so this is yet another potential enhancement to what has already been undertaken. It is hoped that this initial phase will be the first step to a larger scale roll out of the scheme in the near future.”

The Council’s collective energy buying scheme – the Big Power Switch – has so far saved 700 households more than £150,000. The next round of the Big Power Switch opens on 24 March 2015. For more information and to register for the Big Power Switch go to: www.doncaster.gov.uk/switch

The solar power project is an environmentally friendly scheme that would support job creation and new apprenticeships. It is the first step towards a larger scale solar panel initiative on council homes which is expected to be considering in the coming months, subject to the approval of this initial phase.

The solar panel works will be undertaken by St Leger Homes on all suitable properties in the Highfields area. The area has been chosen due to the existing roof improvement works programmed and the favourable orientation of the roofs.