Housing association North Lincolnshire Homes (NLH) has green lit the installation of rooftop solar kits on “as many” of its houses as possible.
The association, part of the Ongo group, is to work with installer Empower Community to install solar across its housing estate. Tenants are to be offered savings on their energy bills while feed-in tariff payments will contribute towards financing of the installations, with any excess re-invested into the community.
NLH has issued a set of criteria that houses must meet in order to receive panels, including appropriate siting, an approved grid connection from DNO Northern Power Grid and a strong enough roof to take the installation’s weight.
Surveys are currently being undertaken and suitable tenants are being addressed to, and NLH believes thousands of properties could be eligible.
“We’re working hard to ensure that our properties are as energy efficient as possible, and solar panels are just one of the ways that we can ensure this,” Neil Webster, head of regeneration at Ongo, said.
“Solar panels are proven to account for lower energy costs as a result of being able to generate their own electricity via sunlight, so it’s great news for our tenants too. Even if a tenant doesn’t directly benefit, the money granted to us will be put back into local communities,” he added.
But it is not yet known to what extent NLH’s deployment will be hamstrung by proposed cuts to the feed-in tariff due to come into force in early January. The FiT rate will drop from just over 12p/kWh to as little as 1.63p, placing the financial feasibility of such projects at risk.
Domestic installer Solarplicity said last month that cuts to the feed-in tariff placed “huge question marks” over solar installation schemes launched by housing associations and Doncaster City Council admitted back in August that its plans to install solar on as many as 6,000 homes would be impacted should the FiT drop below a certain rate.