Work has begun on a £4.44 million West Lancashire Borough Council scheme that could save a large number of tenants between £50 and £200 on their electricity bills.
Solar panels are being installed on around 1,000 Council houses and bungalows and the first ones have now been put in place.
The panels will generate electricity during daylight hours which can be used by the tenant with no charge from the Council. This will significantly reduce the amount of electricity tenants consume from the National Grid, and reduce their energy bills.
William Foley and his wife Libby were among the first tenants to have the panels installed.
Mr Foley said: “We are really pleased that the Council has installed these solar panels at our home. We hope they will help to reduce our electricity bills as well as providing some of our energy in a more environmentally-friendly way.”
The Council is working with contractors Rothwell Plumbing Services Ltd and Jackson Jackson Ltd, and in partnership with Procure Plus and SolarKing Ltd.
Councillor Jennifer Patterson, portfolio holder for Housing, said: “I am very pleased that this project has started as it could be of great benefit to tenants struggling with fuel poverty, as well as reducing carbon emissions and helping to tackle climate change. It will also contribute to the UK’s renewable energy targets.”
The Government’s Feed-in Tariff scheme will pay the Council for the electricity the solar panel systems generate, regardless of whether it’s used in the tenants’ homes or not. Over time, this income will pay back the capital cost of installing the panels and provide a return on investment that can be used to support Council services in future years.
The properties selected for solar panels have been chosen based on their orientation and roof size. South, southeast and southwest facing properties will generate the most energy, and therefore will help make the project a financially viable investment for the Council as well as being of benefit to the tenants.