Welwyn Hatfield Council, Hertfordshire, has been nominated by heating contractor EAGA to pilot a scheme for the installation of photovoltaic panels on approximately 400 local council homes, depending on their suitability. This project adds to several other carbon reduction council initiatives across the country.

Each system is expected to save around 1,200kg of CO2 per household per year, which is approximately 30 tonnes per home across the 25-year lifetime of the system. Tenants will of course also save money on fuel bills through the country's feed-in tariff and reduced electricity payments.

The suitability of each house is expected to be judged on the roof orientation (preferably south facing) as well as whether it is strong enough to take the weight of the panels.

The cost of these systems will be entirely covered by financial backing provided by the UK Government. If successful, the scheme is likely to be extended to other suitable properties later this year – not just in Welwyn and Hatfield, but on a national scale. The panels will be installed by EAGA.

Councillor Roger Trigg, Executive Member for Housing said, “We are proud to start the New Year with such a positive and innovative scheme, which will mean real savings in our tenants' energy bills and their overall carbon footprint.

“We recognise how important it is for our tenants to manage the cost of keeping their homes warm and comfortable. Our homes have already been recognized as some of the most thermally efficient in the UK, and this strengthens our commitment to energy efficiency even further.”

This is good news for residents of the area, who have been protesting since 2009 against a £220 million combined heat and power plant to be built on the New Barnfield site in Travellers Lane, South Hatfield. The controversial 270,000 tonne waste incinerator has caused rows over health risks including increasing levels of asthma and other respiratory diseases.