Hundreds of council homes across Flintshire are to be fitted with solar PV panels as part of the Welsh Assembly’s efforts to improve housing stock and meet national quality standards by 2020.

As part of an overall £111 million investment programme to meet the Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS), 400 council-owned properties will be fitted with panels. The work will be carried out alongside the installation of other measures including higher levels of insulation and bringing gas to communities that have previously relied on more expensive forms of heating.

According to Flintshire council, the panels will be used to reduce the running costs of each property and help to tackle fuel poverty, as well as reduce carbon emissions. It is anticipated that over the 20 year lifetime of the panels, tenants will save over £3.3 million, which is around £412 per year for each council home.

Councillor Helen Brown, cabinet member for housing at Flintshire County Council, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to deliver this scheme, which will greatly benefit our tenants. This investment shows the commitment of the council to reduce costs for our older tenants, who are more likely to be on a fixed income and therefore at greater risk of fuel poverty. The council will continue to seek opportunities to make all properties as energy efficient as possible.”

The surplus electricity generated by the installations and not used by the occupants will provide an income for the council, which it said will be reinvested in its housing stock.

WHQS requires all social landlords to improve their housing stock to an acceptable level by 2020. This includes ensuring the properties are adequately heated, fuel efficient and well insulated. This objective falls in line with the Welsh Assembly government’s ‘Better Homes for People in Wales’ housing strategy, which aims to eradicate fuel poverty. At the end of March 2015, 72% of all social housing in Wales (159,317 homes) met the WHQS.

Lesley Griffiths, communities and tackling poverty minister for the Welsh Assembly, said: “I welcome Flintshire County Council’s significant investment towards meeting the Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) by 2020. This investment will reduce the running costs of the properties, help to tackle fuel poverty and reduce carbon emissions.

“Our continued investment in the WHQS is having a significant and far reaching impact on Wales’ social housing stock and ensures many more people across Wales have a safe and secure place to call home.”