Renewable energy project brings free, low carbon electricity to residents as work begins to install panels more than 2,000 homes across the city.
Families in solar-powered Stoke-on-Trent homes have already saved an average of more than £1001 each on their energy bills since the start of a joint project between E.ON and Stoke-on-Trent City Council to develop renewable technology and promote energy efficiency across the city.
The savings have been made by the 57 families taking part in a pilot project in Chell Heath to install solar panels on council house roofs. Following on from that project E.ON, the city council and Kier Stoke are now starting work on bringing renewable energy to thousands of homes across the city.
The trial project began in September last year when E.ON and the city council announced plans to work in partnership to help meet the city’s ambitious environment targets.
Since then, the solar panels fitted to 57 homes have generated more than 55,000kWh of electricity, generating free electricity from the panels for residents – enough to make the equivalent of more than 2.1 million cups of tea2 – and avoiding an average of 581kg of carbon dioxide each.
Councillor Gwen Hassall, Stoke-on-Trent City Council cabinet member for housing and neighbourhoods, said: “We are committed to our goal of making Stoke-on-Trent a sustainable city – to slash harmful carbon dioxide emissions, and use green energy that is good for the environment. This project is a win-win situation for our tenants because it is improving their homes and is also considerably lowering their energy bills. It will help to reduce the risk of fuel poverty and health inequalities. It is a really exciting time which shows the forward thinking and innovation in our city and I’m thrilled that so many homes are to benefit.
“The installation of the panels is also providing jobs for local people and work for local suppliers – it is part of our Mandate for Change to promote healthy lives, support existing businesses and make Stoke-on-Trent a great place to live.
Don Leiper, Director of New Business at E.ON, said: “I’m delighted that we’re starting to see results from our partnership with Stoke-on-Trent and that we’ve taken a very real first step in delivering a greener future.
“Working in this way we’ve been able to help people become more energy fit, either by insulating homes better, changing the way we all use energy or, like this scheme today, providing the technology so people can start to generate their own power at home or at work.
“But there are more benefits than the energy generated – this scheme is providing an income to the council and it’s already driving new jobs and skills across the city.”
Under the scheme, E.ON funds the installation of the solar panels, with the costs covered through Government incentives to reward renewable energy. In return, the city council receives an income for effectively renting out the roof space and the homeowners benefit from savings on their bills from the free electricity generated.
Linda Lovatt, of Barlaston Road, Blurton, was the first to have solar panels fitted as part of the roll out of the scheme. The great-grandmother lives with her son Jason, 40, at their three-bedroom semi-detached council home. The house has been fitted with eight solar panels.
Linda, 62, said: “The panels have only been installed for two weeks, but already I’m noticing big changes. I halve halved my electricity bill – I was paying £10 a week on electricity, now it is down to £5 a week.
“I was very eager to have the solar panels installed, particularly with the winter months coming, and the news that energy prices are to increase. The panels are a brilliant idea, and I’d advise others to have them fitted – it saves money and there is everything to gain and nothing to lose.”
The city council has a housing stock of around 19,000 homes. Properties that have south-facing roofs and meet other criteria are benefiting from the solar panel installations.
E.ON also runs a similar project for private homeowners who may be interested in solar panels. For more information visit eonenergy.com/solarexchange.
1 The total amount of power generated by 56 houses was 55,746kwh. Using an average cost of 11p per kWh at domestic rates and divided by the number of homes in the trial gives £109.50 worth of electricity generated per property on average since from the time the trial started in September 2010 to August 2011;
2 Based on 0.026kWh of energy to heat a 250ml cup of water from 12 to 100oC. 55,746 kWh/0.026 kWh = 2,144,077 cups.