While Whitehall has done its best to undermine the UK solar industry over the past six months, many figures in local government continue to pledge their support for the sector. Jeremy Birch, the leader of Hastings Borough Council, is latest municipal politician to do just this after urging residents to make Hastings into a “solar-powered town”.

Birch used his blog on the Council’s website to issue a call to arms to Hastings’ homeowners, asking those with the necessary finances to look into the possibility of installing PV systems.

The councillor claims that installers in the borough are currently offering several competitively-priced packages to entice potential customers to embrace solar and take advantage of the government’s feed-in tariff. Residential systems are eligible for subsidies between £0.33 and 0.47 per kilowatt hour.

”Some companies also offer to basically lease a resident’s roof for 25 years and to install free solar panels for them,” Birch said in his blog. “This gives the resident free electricity during daylight hours and can save hundreds of pounds a year, especially with prices going up.”

One unnamed East Sussex solar firm has even offered to install 4,000 free panels in the region by spring 2012.

As mentioned above, Birch is not the first local politician to put his weight behind solar; Bournemouth, Colchester and Eastbourne's Councils have all outlined or approved solar roadmaps, while Southam councillor Dave Wise has even installed a 2,50kW rooftop system on his own home.