Delighted Eleanor Backley is the first North Tyneside Council tenant to benefit from a green scheme to fit solar panels on council homes and buildings.
Eleanor, 65, who lives in Chollerford Avenue, North Shields, could save up to £120 a year on her fuel bills as a result of the joint initiative between the local authority and energy company E.ON.
Kier North Tyneside, which is carrying out the installation work on behalf of E.ON, has fitted eight solar panels to the roof of her home – the first of around 3,000 houses and 100 public buildings to benefit across the borough.
It will lead to a reduction in North Tyneside’s carbon footprint of 75,0001 tonnes over the project’s lifetime.
Meanwhile, the council will use the income it receives through the initiative to set-up a Green Fund to offer energy efficiency improvements to the borough’s other council tenants.
“I think it’s absolutely brilliant. From all aspects – my own personal point of view, the environment’s and the council’s – it’s fabulous. And I think it’s a great plan that the council is using the income it receives to set up a Green Fund to assist other tenants.”
North Tyneside Council’s housing service, North Tyneside Homes, manages around 15,800 council homes across the borough.
Eleanor has lived in her prefabricated concrete home, known as an Orlit, for the past 25 years. Last year it received new windows, doors and insulation as part of the Decent Homes programme
It’s meant that Eleanor has already seen her fuel bills halve and now her electricity costs are set to fall further.
“I’m really pleased that I’ve got the panels before the winter is here. During the daytime I’m in the house so it means I’ll be able to use the free electricity that’s produced. I’m looking forward to using my immersion heater for the first time in years. It was too expensive to heat my water, so I’ve been using gas, but I’ll be able to use it now.”
“I’m on the council’s tenant involvement panel so have known this scheme was on the way, even before I got my letter from E.ON. I would urge other tenants to get involved as it means you’re always kept up to date.”
North Tyneside Elected Mayor Linda Arkley said:
“I’m delighted that our residents are starting to benefit from this fantastic project. It ‘s going to help reduce their fuel bills in what are tough financial times as well as substantially reduce the borough’s carbon footprint. And our Green Fund means that tenants whose homes aren’t suitable for solar panels, will receive help towards other energy efficiency measures.”
Thomas Buss, Head of Microgeneration at E.ON, said:
“Putting people in control of their energy – helping them to insulate their homes, moderate their use or perhaps generate their own power, is what we call being energy fit and this project is a great example of this. 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.”
The council has appointed E.ON to provide, install 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.
It is estimated that tenants will save between £70 and £1201 a year by making use of the free daytime electricity generated by the panels.
Meanwhile, the council will receive revenue over the course of the project for effectively renting out the roof space.
It will use this money to set up a Green Fund which will be targeted towards energy efficiency measures for those tenants who don’t directly benefit.
Around 100 of the council’s public buildings, such as leisure and community centres, will also be fitted with solar panels, which will reduce these buildings’ energy costs.
1 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.