Council tenants across Exeter are set to benefit from a scheme to install solar panels on their roofs.
The City Council's Housing Services have teamed up with E.ON to install the solar panels. These panels will be installed free of charge as long as the tenant is happy with the arrangement.
Tenants will be able to have free electricity during the day. It is hoped that this could save people up to £120 a year on their energy bills and help reduce fuel poverty.
In order to be suitable, homes must be south-facing and have access to a pitched roof. So far, letters have been sent to just under 500 houses which may qualify. A further 200 letters will go out to top-floor flats within the next few days. These homes will each receive a visit from a Council officer over the next few weeks to explain further about the scheme and ask the tenant to sign a 'Tenancy Variation Agreement'.
This gives E.ON permission to survey the property and assess whether it is suitable for a solar install. The tenant does not have to sign if they do not wish to, but if they do and their home is suitable, they will benefit from any free electricity produced. There are, of course, many homes which unfortunately are not eligible for solar panels.
Cllr Rob Hannaford, Lead Councillor for Housing and Social Inclusion said: "The scourge of fuel poverty is a major issue for many people across the city. Too many people are again this winter having to choose between heating and eating. So, I am very pleased that we are taking this positive and proactive approach to help some tenants to save money in partnership with E.ON, that will also generate sustainable clean energy.
"We are also absolutely committed to using any funding we receive from E.ON to make sure that those households who do not have roofs suitable for solar panels get help with energy efficiency works to help reduce their bills as well. If tenants would like more information , or have any queries please come forward and let us know as we are looking to maximise the possible take up of this exciting new scheme to ensure its success."