Wrexham County Council is due to complete an ambitious solar scheme at the end of this month that will see one in three council owned properties fitted with a solar photovoltaic array. The 5MW scheme is believed to be Europe’s largest social housing solar scheme.

The Council used 30,000 Sharp solar panels from the local Sharp solar factory to turn 3,000 council owned properties into micro-power plants. Wrexham County Council was able to install and register two-thirds of the solar systems before the March 3 deadline, in the hope that the Councilwill receive the higher FiT rate, depending on the outcome of the Supreme Court.

The installations are expected to knock up to £300 a year off their residents’ electricity bills and help lift the poorest residents out of fuel poverty. The impressive solar programme will reduce the council’s carbon emissions by 3,000 tonnes a year.

Speaking to the Guardian, local resident Jackie Downward said: “They have been going up like mushrooms. Everyone's got them, even my auntie. I've never taken an interest in green things before. Some people say they look ugly but most say they wouldn't mind them. In the end, it's money off your bills and jobs so it has to be worth it.”

Council Chief Executive, Dr Helen Paterson, said: “This is a hugely significant project for the Council with an estimated value of £60 million. Such investment demonstrates our commitment to reduce carbon emissions and energy use, whilst also tackling fuel poverty. The added benefit of this project is the income that will be generated by taking advantage of FiTs.” 

Wrexham County Council invested £28 million in the scheme and is expected to receive over £1 million a year from the feed-in tariff. The solar scheme’s income will be used to increase Wrexham’s housing budget by almost 10 percent. The Council also has plans to fit a further 90kWp of solar power across the six schools and public buildings later this year.