Northern Ireland housing association to invest £1m in solar

The Fold Housing Association in Northern Ireland is investing more than £1m in solar PV panels to help combat fuel poverty.

The Association has awarded a £1m+ contract to a consortium made up of Solmatix Renewables and Harvey Group to install the panels at approximately 100 sites across Northern Ireland.

The payback period will be seven years. 

Fold manages over 6,000 homes covering family, sheltered and complex client need groups. With a turnover of £40m the social enterprise employs 800 people in 60 towns across Northern Ireland.  

“Fold Housing Association is proud to be making such a significant investment in the use of renewable technology at our schemes,” said Fold‘s Director of Housing, Eileen Patterson.

“We take the issue of fuel poverty seriously and we are working with our tenants to provide effective and sustainable solutions. Over the last 10 years, Fold has invested in a number of energy efficiency systems in an effort to reduce fuel and energy costs for tenants and to improve our carbon footprint. 

“We have installed solar panels across a number of general needs housing schemes and in our experience we have found passive systems such as solar panels and increased insulation to be most effective. We look forward to working with both companies as we roll this project out in the coming months.”

Richard Bell, Managing Director of Solmatix Renewables, said: “We are delighted to have won this Fold tender in association with our partner, Harvey Group. Not only does it help us to secure employment within our organisations, but just as importantly the £1.2m installation will generate reliable, sustainable solar electricity.  This means real savings for Fold tenants, and real benefits for our environment.”

Brian Harvey, Managing Director of Harvey Group, commented: “Together with Solmatix, we are delighted to have been selected by Fold for this contract on the basis of our price and quality. These are values that we share in common and we look forward to delivering our first high quality and sustainable energy solution as a consortium, to serve the social housing sector.”

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government, transport and energy issues