The grant hopes to accelerate deployment of solar PV systems on social housing by incentivising landlords. Image: Pixabay

A partnership between energy saving specialists Happy Energy Solutions, EDF and British solar company UKSOL has created a grant for landlords of social housing to roll out solar PV across their housing stock.

Accessed through the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), the grant will cover up to 80% of the cost of deploying solar systems to social housing, reducing the need to recover costs, significantly boosting EPC ratings and reducing tenants’ energy bills.

To be eligible for the ECO grant, properties must have an EPC of band D or below and be electrically heated. The scheme aims to incentivise landlords to switch gas boilers with heat pumps or hybrid heat pumps as, once installed – and again subject to an EPC band of D – they would be able to access the grant.

The scheme was made possible through an application to Ofgem by Happy Energy Solutions and EDF. It has secured special status for UKSOL’s solar panels, developed and manufactured in Spain, which have a built-in optimiser that reduces shading issues and provides enhanced safety benefits, according to UKSOL.

“The grant scheme is an excellent opportunity for social landlords to reduce grid electricity consumption, cut bills and shrink carbon emissions without the burden of increased capital outlay associated with deploying solar power,” said Andrew Moore, president of UKSOL.

“There is a huge push for CO2 reductions to be made, but whilst heat pumps will achieve this, they could see more low-income social tenants pushed deeper into fuel poverty, so this new solar PV grant opportunity will help to overcome this dichotomy by generating up to £500 of free electricity for the tenant a year,” said CEO of Happy Energy Solutions, Adrian Wright.

The scheme coincides with other attempts to green the UK’s social housing stock. In March this year, SMS launched a new solution to offer local housing authorities a fully financed solar generation and smart battery storage system, while, last month, data released by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy found installations of solar PV under the Local Authority Delivery of the Green Homes Grant had risen.