Celebrating solar’s power to reduce bills and carbon emissions

This month, Brighton & Hove will mark the completion of the SOLARISE project. The EU-funded project installed solar energy panels in a number of council housing developments across the city, reducing energy bills for residents and lowering carbon emissions. 

Solar power is one of the most abundant of all renewable energy resources and generation of solar energy has increased significantly in recent years. As one of the sunniest parts of the UK, Brighton & Hove provides a fantastic opportunity to harness solar power. 

New installations across the city

A former housing office in Oxford Street, Brighton was transformed into 10 energy-efficient homes, providing temporary accommodation for people in housing need. Solar panels on the roof of George Cooper House now provide renewable energy for 6 of the flats, while the remaining 4 flats benefit from Air Source Heat Pumps due to limitations on the location of the equipment.

The property was the first council housing project in the city where solar panels feed directly into flats rather than communal electricity supplies and the national grid. This means the solar panels directly benefit tenants by reducing their energy bills. 

Likewise, at Elwyn Jones Court senior housing scheme in Patcham, solar panels have been installed to help run heating and hot water for residents. This has led to a reduction of 8.88 tonnes of carbon emissions due to the solar-generated energy as well as a reduction to residents’ energy bills. 

Tenants at a development of new flats in Buckley Close, Hangleton have also been able to reap the rewards of renewable energy thanks to solar panels installed on the roof the building. Monitoring at the end of December showed that residents were saving around 35% on the unit costs of their electricity bills.  

A new development of 42 homes in Victoria Road, Portslade will also feature a solar panel system. Due to be completed in October 2022, it will include other sustainability features such as ground source heat pumps, high levels of insulation, and living walls planted with wildflowers. 

Recognising and celebrating achievements

Councillor Siriol Hugh-Jones, co-chair of the housing committee and member of the 2030 carbon neutral member working group, said: “The achievements made over the course of the 4-year SOLARISE project are something we’re keen to recognise and celebrate here in Brighton & Hove. 

“In addition to paving a way for a more sustainable future, a greater reliance on solar energy will also help to address concerns around fuel poverty and the rising cost of energy bills. We know that the cost of living crisis has affected many residents, so this is welcome news indeed. 

“Increasing our use of renewable energy resources is one of the many practical ways we can achieve our goal of becoming a carbon neutral city by 2030. We look forward to taking the learnings made throughout the SOLARISE project forward as we expand our offer of solar panels to council tenants across the city.”

Innovative project

The SOLARISE project, which started in March 2018, aims to increase the uptake of solar technology throughout the UK and other parts of Europe. The project involved 12 partners across the UK, France, Netherlands and Belgium including Brighton & Hove City Council. 

The project has been led by the University of Picardy and culminates with a conference in Brighton & Hove on 19 May 2022. The conference will bring together cities and municipalities, businesses, academics, and other organisations to discuss how we can work together to speed up the transition to solar energy. 

For more information about the event, visit the Solarise conference website

Find out more about SOLARISE.

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