Tenants with solar panels on their homes are saving up to £120* a year on fuel bills - worth a combined £3million over the next 25 years.
And Susan Walker from Ancaster Avenue, Benton, is the 1,000th resident to benefit, after solar panels were installed on her home earlier this month.
She said: “When I found out I was getting the solar panels I was delighted. People need to start thinking about helping the environment, and using this form of energy obviously does that.
“It’ll also be great to be able to save some money. I’m not sure what I’d spend the savings on yet, but it will be just nice to have it.
“I personally think solar panels are the way forward. Everything changes and this change is definitely for the better.”
North Tyneside Council’s housing service, North Tyneside Homes, manages around 15,600 council homes across the borough.
Kier North Tyneside, which is carrying out the installation work on behalf of E.ON, hopes to have fitted solar panels to around 1,500 homes by the start of March. Although fewer than originally proposed due to national funding changes, the initiative remains one of the largest in the country.
Homes not receiving solar panels could benefit from other energy efficiency improvements in the future thanks to the council’s Green Fund. This will be financed by income that the local authority receives through the initiative by effectively renting out the roof space.
The 1,000 installations represent:
• 15,974 square metres of solar panels
• £132,378 saved in electricity bills per year
• 1,130,684 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions saved per year.
North Tyneside Elected Mayor Linda Arkley said: “It’s great news that despite setbacks in funding, this project has still benefited 1,000 homes so far.
“Not only will the borough’s carbon footprint be reduced, but tenants will also benefit as a result of saving money through reduced fuel bills.”
Thomas Buss, Head of Microgeneration at E.ON’s Sustainable Energy business, said: “Together we’re making great strides to help get the people of North Tyneside energy fit and I hope we’ll be seeing hundreds more families benefiting from this project in the weeks to come.
“I’m delighted that we’re starting to see results not only for customers but also for the region and its desire to lead the way in renewable energy. It’s by working in partnership with councils and the community that we can have the biggest impact on reducing fuel bills and cutting our carbon emissions.”
Kier regional director for maintenance Mike Furze said: "Solar power will be increasingly important over the coming years in helping to reduce household energy bills, reduce carbon emissions and eliminate fuel poverty.
“This project will provide benefits to so many of our local residents while bringing advantages to the environment at the same time. At Kier, we strive to do everything we can to reduce the impact our work has on the environment.
“We are proud to be part of this project, which has already had a positive impact in the reduction of fuel consumption in North Tyneside."
The council has appointed E.ON to provide and maintain solar panels for 25 years at no cost to the local authority. E.ON’s costs will be covered by Government reward payments for renewable energy over 25 years.
* Based on the installation of a 1.88kW to 2.35kW solar photovoltaic system fitted to a south-facing roof exposed to average UK weather conditions on an assumed tariff rate of 13.3p/kWh.
Notes to editors:
• The 2kW solar panels will produce an estimated total of 1,650kWH of electricity per year for an un-shaded due south roof inclined at 30 to 40 degrees to the horizontal in North Tyneside. The energy can be used by the tenant when it is being generated during the daytime, or it is sent to the National Grid for others to use.
• Homes that face mainly south are most suitable but it also depends on the size, angle and condition of the roof.
• If a home is chosen to be included in the scheme, solar panels will not be fitted unless the tenant is completely comfortable and has granted their permission.
• The 2kW solar panels will produce an estimated total of 4,000kWH of electricity per year. The energy can be used by the tenant when it is being generated during the daytime, or it is sent to the National Grid for others to use.
• Kier North Tyneside is a joint venture (JV) company formed between North Tyneside Council and Kier to deliver a repairs and maintenance service for North Tyneside’s social housing and public buildings. This organisation carries out improvements and repairs to North Tyneside Council’s housing stock and other council-owned property for an initial ten-year term.