Housing contractor, Forrest, has announced that it has agreed a £120 million residential solar PV scheme with global investment bank Macquarie.

The partnership will see Macquarie fund solar installations carried out by Forrest over the next three years, providing residents unlimited use of the electricity generated by the arrays for free.

Forrest will aim to install solar arrays on well-located properties, targeting its social housing client base in the North of England, Midlands and Wales. The company is also understood to be negotiating partnerships with other installation providers to cover Scotland and Southern England.  

In addition, Forrest is looking at opening up the free solar offer to private residences to help deliver its target of £40 million of solar installations in the first 12 months of the scheme.

Speaking to Solar Power Portal, Forrest confirmed that it would be responsible for maintenance over the repayment period which will be done through the feed-in tariff scheme, with the projects jointly owned by Macquarie and Forrest.

Commenting on the deal, Ted Macdougal development director at Forrest said: “We have now delivered over 6,000 solar PV installations and this agreement will see us significantly expand the scope and scale of our presence in the renewables market over the next two decades.

“In Macquarie, we have a partner with the long-term investment horizon that is necessary to help us deliver thousands more installations even as the feed-in tariff levels awarded by the government gradually reduce.

“An installation of free electricity generating kit of this type is proving to be very effective to everyone we have spoken to and we can understand why. This will reduce every household’s energy bills when installed, helping the most vulnerable out of fuel poverty. Those residents with concerns about such issues as rent payment and bedroom tax may be helped enormously and homes will be warmer and healthier as a result. We expect take up to be immense.”

Under the reformed feed-in tariff mechanism, a new multi-installation tariff was introduced. Once an aggregated roof scheme registers more than 25 arrays, the eligible tariff rate is reduced by 10%. The new multi-installation tariff had rendered a number of existing free solar schemes uneconomic.