Local authority launches 11th hour solar scheme

Darlington Borough Council has launched a scheme to install solar panels on around 1,000 local authority homes before the end of the year.

The council has joined forces with two solar installation experts – Global Heat Source and Saving Energy Renewables North East – to deliver the programme, which will be completed before the proposed cuts to renewable energy subsidies come into force.

Letters have been sent to the tenants of these properties inviting them to sign up to the scheme. 

If tenants respond to express an interest an appointment will be arranged with the council’s sub-contractors to complete a detailed survey of the property to ensure it is suitable for a Solar PV system. 

“A consultation is currently ongoing on whether the FiT payments are to be cut or the scheme closed altogether, so we do have a limited time in which to take advantage of this initiative,” said Cabinet Member for Housing, Cllr Veronica Copeland.

“Our partner companies have identified the properties most likely to be suitable and letters will be going out to those tenants this week to outline the scheme. The tenants will be invited to register their interest and arrange a full survey.

“Ideally, installation work will start on the first properties in early November and we could see solar panels installed in around 1,000 homes by the end of the year.

“Obviously, not all properties will be suitable and tenants do not have to take part, but for those who are interested it could lead to savings of up to £200 a year on their electricity bill. It will also help us help the environment by cutting our carbon emissions. So it’s a win-win situation for all,” she added.

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