Leeds solar panel programme powers up

Work has begun on a Leeds City Council project to install 1,000 solar panel systems are installed on local authority homes.

The Better Homes Yorkshire team - Keepmoat and Wilmott Dixon Energy Services - started work last week on the project, putting up scaffolding on houses suitable for the energy generating kit across the city.

Each system is made up of between eight and twelve solar photovoltaic panels and will take three days to install.

The council estimates that overall tenants could save around £4.4 million in electricity costs over 20 years, working out at around £136 a year for each tenant.

After an initial outlay of £3.8 million, the solar panels will make the council around £6.4 million over 20 years.

Leeds City Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Transport and Planning, Cllr Richard Lewis, said:"This really is a 'win-win' and it's great that we can provide this for existing tenants as well as when we build new council homes. With a significant investment we're fitting clean energy technology to existing council houses so tenants and the environment benefits. Residents benefit from electricity during the day whilst we all benefit from more clean energy in the grid."

Stephen Batty, framework director at Better Homes Yorkshire, added: “These first installations are kick-starting a three month process that will see over 12,000 panels installed on 1,000 homes."The teams on the ground are raring to go so tenants can start to benefit from the free electricity as soon as possible."

All the installation work is expected to be completed by November.

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