North Tyneside Council pledge install solar panels in 2,500 homes across the borough
Another 2,500 Tyneside council homes are set to benefit from solar power to cut electricity bills and save on greenhouse gas emissions.
In 2010-11 North Tyneside Council, in partnership with power company E.On, installed solar PV panels on more than 1,500 local authority homes with south-facing roofs.
The panels generate almost three million kilowatt hours of electricity a year, saving tenants an estimated £132 per property.
Via the Government’s Feed-in Tariff scheme this also provides an annual income of £72,000 for the council for 25 years.
Under the tariff scheme, power generated by renewable energy is eligible for a payment by energy suppliers, with additional sums for any electricity exported to the National Grid.
Now the council’s cabinet has backed plans to identify a provider to install solar PV systems on more authority-owned homes, public buildings and schools.
Increasingly efficient solar technology now means that properties with east and west facing roofs, which were previously considered to be not technically and financially feasible, are now viable.
It is thought that up to 2,500 such properties may be suitable for solar panels.
Installation costs would be £180,000 but the council’s Green Fund, fed by the income stream from the current solar scheme, stands at £140,000 and could be used for the new venture.
It is anticipated that the new scheme would save up to £175 on power bills per year for each home as households would be able to use the electricity generated by the panels free of charge.
The panels would cut carbon dioxide emissions by 2,500 tonnes annually.
The solar scheme would also help tackle a situation where around 10,000 households in North Tyneside suffer from fuel poverty.
Related Provisional Excess Winter Deaths (EWD) statistics for 2013-14 show that there were 800 EWDs in the North East.
Although carbon emissions in the domestic sector have reduced by 13% since 2005, homes now account for 40% of all carbon dioxide emissions in North Tyneside, overtaking industry and commerce as the biggest polluter.
The current scheme has shown that there can be localised problems of pigeons nesting under the solar panels but council will expect the new provider to offer a solution to this problem.
John Stirling. council cabinet member for sustainable development, said: “This is a really good example of one of the many ways the council is working to reduce carbon emissions and help residents to reduce their fuel bills.
“Our earlier scheme was highly successful. The installation of these new more efficient solar panels will not only continue to reduce the environmental impact of the running of people’s homes, schools and public buildings, but it will also reduce the cost of running them.
“This is a win, win situation – great for the environment and for residents benefiting from free energy.”