A project to install solar PV panels on council houses got underway this month and more than 2000 council tenancies across both Babergh and Mid Suffolk will soon begin to enjoy the benefits of reduced fuel bills.
The scheme which is the largest undertaken in the UK to date, will also net the combined councils around £5m, over the next 20 years, through the Government’s Feed-in Tariff Scheme (FiTS), which will benefit all residents.
Tenants in Park View, Botesdale – the first set of properties to have been fitted with solar panels – are already using the free electricity that is being generated by their solar panels. The electricity generated creates an income for the both Councils’ General Fund through the Feed in Tariff Scheme.
Once completed, the project will also make a significant contribution to achieving the Councils’ objective of protecting the environment by removing an estimated 80,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the National Grid mix over the lifetime of the scheme.
Cllr Marilyn Curran, Mid Suffolk District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing and Environmental Health said:
“This scheme represents great benefits for everyone.
“Residents will be able to enjoy the use of free electricity during the daytime and reduced energy bills overall and both councils will receive an income through selling the surplus back to the grid.
“This will also generate vital funds for both councils which will help us deliver positive outcomes for our communities as well as reducing fuel poverty and cutting carbon emissions.”
Cllr Jennie Jenkins, Leader of Babergh District Council, said:
“We are thrilled that work has now begun on this scheme which will not only generate valuable income for the Council and therefore benefit all residents, but it will also help many of our tenants to cope with the rising costs of energy prices.
“We will also be looking at how we can extend this scheme in the future.
“Combined with this are the ‘green’ savings that each council is making. The systems will materially help to reduce the carbon footprint of our two districts.”
Campbell and Kennedy have been appointed by Breyer Group PLC, through the LHC Procurement Framework, to deliver the installation and aim to complete the project within 15 months.
Gerry Kennedy, Managing Director at Campbell and Kennedy, said:
“We are delighted to be involved in this project. It’s a win-win as not only do the tenants benefit but also the council will recoup its investment and generate an income to benefit all ratepayers.
“Based on a resident using only 50% of the electricity generated each household could save up to £150 or more per year.
“If you consider that over 2,000 systems are being installed and that the systems will continue to generate electricity for 25 years or more – you can quickly see that the councils will create some substantial savings on behalf of their residents.”