800,000 Low-Income Houses Will be Getting Free Solar Panels

By Tom Pritchard on at

Renewable energy provider Solarplicity has just announced one of the largest green energy schemes the UK has seen to date, which will see up to 800,000 low-income homes get free solar panels installed over the next five years.

The aim of the £1 billion project is to help people living in social housing save money on their power bills, and while the energy generated by the panels won't be completely free the residents will get significant discounts. It's estimated that they could save up to £240 on their electricity bill every year.

40 'social landlords', which includes local authorities, have signed on for the project - a large number of which are in the North West. In fact 240,000 of the homes set to benefit from the free panels are in Oldham and Bradford. Areas in the North East and East Midlands are also set to benefit from the project, with Leeds to Derby respectively  getting 184,000 and 154,000 installations.

Overall this scheme is set to create a further 1,000 jobs, many of which will be offered to former members of the armed forces - who will then be retrained for the maintenance work involved. Profits will be generated by the government's feed-in tariff, and from energy sold to the tenants. The tenants themselves will also be given LED bulbs and smart meters in order to help manage their consumption.

The first wave of installations will happen thanks to £160 million of investment from Dutch firm Maas Capital, which will install 100,000 homes-worth of panels over the course of the next 18 months. [Solarplicity via Engadget]

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