Image: Viridian Solar.

North Ayrshire Council has approved a plan to install rooftop solar on up to 500 properties in its housing stock to save residents up to £115 within the first year.

The council’s cabinet approved the plan as part of its Environmental Sustainability & Climate Change Strategy and its strategy to tackle fuel poverty.

Cabinet member for place, councillor Jim Montgomerie, said: “We know that many our tenants struggle to make ends meet and rising energy prices place so much pressure on families, particularly those on low incomes.

“As well as helping some of our lowest-income residents, this programme also makes a big environmental statement. We are continually looking at ways we can reduce our carbon footprint, and the solar panel programme is expected to generate an equivalent saving of 6,400 tonnes of carbon over 20 years.”

An initial consultation on the £1.6 million solar panel initiative identified 1,100 council properties in North Ayrshire which could benefit from the installations. The council will now contact these homes again to gauge their interest, with additional properties considered for inclusion on a first-come, first-served basis up to a limit of 500 installations.

The council hopes to install the solar panels at no charge to the residents by the autumn, with the potential for the scheme to be further rolled-out if successful.

Montgomerie added: “Over the next 20 years the 500 installations will collectively save residents about £1 million on their energy bills – that will make a major difference to their lives.”

Having received approval last week, the council expects to move on to the procurement stage “very soon”.