Tenants living in West Lancashire Borough Council homes could save between £50 and £200 a year on electricity bills following approval to invest up to £4.44m installing solar panels on selected Council properties.
The panels will be installed on around 1,000 houses and bungalows and will generate electricity during daylight hours which can be used by the tenant free of charge. This will significantly reduce the amount of electricity they consume from the National Grid, and reduce their energy bills.
Councillor Jennifer Patterson, portfolio holder for Housing, said: “We are very excited about this project 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 scheme was approved at an Extraordinary Council meeting on Tuesday 15 September.
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.
This means the Council can’t include all properties at this time, but many other tenants have already benefitted from other energy efficiency measures. This includes new energy efficient heating systems and gas network extensions, insulation measures and new energy-efficient doors and windows. Some of this work has involved bringing gas into homes in Skelmersdale which have never had gas before.
The Council will borrow the money to fund the solar panels scheme. The project will be rolled out quickly with works starting in mid-October and complete before January 2016.
For more information on West Lancashire Borough Council housing services please visit Housing.