Residential Solar roof installations on housing development in Bicester with Viridian
Hackney Council plans to provide cheaper electricity rates for 500 council homes using roof-mounted solar. Image: Viridian Solar

Hackney Council’s cabinet has approved plans to install roof-mounted solar panels at 500 council homes, providing discounted electricity to residents.

The project aims to install 4,000 solar photovoltaics (PV) across the buildings in 2024, generating a total of 1MW, equivalent to 20% of the energy consumption of the blocks.

After the installation, residents will be able to access the electricity generated at a rate lower than Ofgem’s price cap, and the process will come at zero cost to both tenants and leaseholders.

The proposed pilot project, due to be commissioned by the Council’s energy services arm, Hackney Light and Power, has been developed in partnership with a local energy specialist, Emergent.

Councillor Mete Coban, cabinet member for climate change, environment and transport, said: “The scheme is a win-win as, by selling the energy generated to residents, the council will also be able to recoup the costs of installation over the next 10-20 years and expand its solar programme to more council homes than we would be able to if we didn’t use this model.”

Residential solar at a local level

2024 has already seen the onset of local solar projects, approved by councils, aiming to produce greater energy efficiency for residents. Exeter City Council recently announced it had reached a milestone of retrofitting 700 council homes with low-carbon technology.

As part of the council’s extensive retrofit programme, which secured £4.1 million of funding, the region expects to see a further 200 council homes retrofitted in the next 12 months, primarily with solar PV and heat pumps.

On a similar note, in September 2023, Coventry City Council discussed including solar installation as part of its upcoming partnership with E.ON.

The plan included the creation of a 30MW solar farm and bringing solar power to a number of schools, as well as integrating solar across several public buildings alongside electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure.

More comprehensive national policy is catching up with these residential instalment projects, as VAT exemption was extended to retrofitted battery energy storage systems (BESS) in the home.

Roof-mounted solar, heat pumps and new BESS have been included in the 20% VAT exemption since its introduction in the Spring Statement 2022. Now, after an extensive campaign from Solar Energy UK and parliamentarians, retrofitted BESS is also included until 31 March 2027.