Lightsource is to invest £25 million in the deployment of solar PV across thousands of residential properties in Northern Ireland.

The company, which is known for deploying large scale solar farms across the UK, is targeting 6,000 homes over the next six months with the standalone projects.

In return for fully funded PV installations, households will be able to purchase energy from the company at a cheaper rate than from the grid, with Lightsource estimating a 20% saving on annual energy bills.

Nick Boyle, chief executive at Lightsource, said: “We are entering into a new world of electricity supply where homeowners and businesses can actually have a choice in how and where their energy comes from. This is great news for consumers, who can not only save money, but can also make decisions that are good for the environment. Solar power is at the forefront of this paradigm shift.

“As Northern Ireland’s political parties negotiate the 2016-20 Programme for Government, it is the perfect opportunity to prioritise a long-term commitment towards a solid renewable energy framework and to safeguard future investment. In turn, this will allow many more homes, businesses and communities to access cheaper, greener electricity.”

As well as carrying out the free installations at an average cost of just over £4,166 per household, Lightsource will provide long-term maintenance to the systems to ensure optimum performance.

A spokesperson for Lightsource confirmed there would be no additional equipment or battery storage units to accompany the systems, which would have an average size of 4kWp across the scheme.

Unlike the rest of the UK which has seen residential solar PV grow as a result of the feed-in tariff, Northern Ireland has only a marginal subsidy scheme in the form of the Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation (NIRO).

This entitles micro-generators to claim ROCs for the electricity they generate which can be sold to suppliers however this scheme provides only a small subsidy for domestic systems.

The roll-out scheme is the latest project for Lightsource in Northern Ireland after the company recently completed the region’s first large-scale solar farm in Antrim, Northern Ireland.