Portsmouth City Council has turned to solar to help power two of its housing blocks.

The council has installed 240 solar modules across the roofs of Horatia House and Leamington House in Southsea.

The council says that the investment in the solar arrays will help power the blocks’ communal electrical systems including lighting, lifts and ventilation.  

The council notes that it won’t just be the blocks’ residents who will benefit from the investment in solar PV. Portsmouth council notes that the revenue generated from the associated feed-in tariff payments in addition to the selling of the energy generated to the council’s energy supplier will be returned to the council’s housing revenue account.   

Meredydd Hughes, Portsmouth city council's housing and property services manager, explained: “We’re very excited about the many benefits of using solar energy. The installations at Horatia and Leamington Houses are already generating over £200 per week, and we plan to roll-out a programme of further installations in other high-energy usage buildings over the next four years. The income earned from electricity-generation will go back into providing essential housing services for our tenants.”

Local solar installer Solarsense fitted the arrays on the two residential blocks and estimates that the solar installations will payback during its sixth year, generating £339,000 of savings and income over the arrays’ lifetime.  

Commenting on the installation, Solarsense’s managing director Stephen Barrett said: “This has been a really satisfying project. Solarsense has been able to provide long-term energy reduction which will benefit the lives of residents, the council and the community as a whole. Even on a seemingly difficult roof, there are ways of implementing solar PV to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions.”

Solarsense installed the systems on the east and west roofs of each flat block. The company estimates that the solar systems will generate 26,000kWh of electricity every year, reducing carbon emissions by over 14 tonnes for each block. The solar installer said that the 17-storey high blocks required precise wind load calculations to ensure that the arrays remain securely in place for their 25+ year lifetime.