Hundreds of council homes could switch to solar power

Plans to install solar panels on 500 council homes across the city will be considered by the Housing Committee on Wednesday (17 June).

The proposal will help cut tenants’ fuel bills by up to £150 a year per household and reduce total carbon emissions by 300 tonnes a year. 

Free electricity for tenants

If the proposal gets the go ahead, solar panels installed on the roof of each home will be wired directly into the fuse box, giving tenants in the property free electricity whenever the panels are generating power. 

If the household is using more electricity than being generated, additional power will come from the national grid and be paid for in the normal way.

Any surplus electricity generated by the panels will be exported to the national grid.

Cutting carbon emissions

Councillor Gill Williams, chair of the Housing Committee, said: 

“We know many residents struggle with energy costs and that can have a real impact on their health and wellbeing.

“This proposal is a really practical way of helping to reduce people’s fuel bills, at the same time as cutting carbon emissions in the city, which is one of our top priorities. It’s a real win-win.”

Councillor Siriol Hugh-Jones, the joint opposition spokesperson for housing, said: 

“This is a great start and one of the many practical ways we achieve our commitment of becoming a carbon neutral city by 2030. 

“In due course, we look forward to the council offering solar panels and the associated fuel savings to many more council tenants, in line with Labour and the Green Party’s pledge to address fuel poverty.” 

Solar panels

The aim is to install solar panels on up to 500 council houses by 2023.

Committee members will be recommended to give approval to begin the process of procuring and awarding contracts. 

They will also consider recommending that the Policy & Resources committee allocates a total of £1,750,000 in the budget over the next two years to pay for the work. This will be in addition to £100,000 already allocated in this year’s budget.

Locations for panels have not yet been selected. Tenants will be kept informed and given the choice to opt out if they don’t want solar panels on their home.

A total of 363 council houses in the city already have solar panels, most fitted under a previous project. All newly built council homes are being fitted with solar panels.

While the current proposal relates specifically to council houses and bungalows, solar panels have also been fitted on some council-owned blocks of flats.

These include new flats in Buckley Close, Hangleton, where panels were fitted as part of an EU-funded project called Solarise.

More information

For more information, see the 17 June 2020 Housing Committee report (item 8).

You can also read more about our pledge to become carbon neutral by 2030.

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