Council homes could go solar in move to save on energy

HUNDREDS OF tenants could be forced to have solar panels installed on their roof as a South Yorkshire council looks to capitalise on the benefits of green energy.

It is claimed that the plans, due to be considered by Doncaster Council’s cabinet on Wednesday, will save residents up to £200 a year on energy bills.

The move to solar could also generate income for the local authority through the Government’s feed-in tariff, which gives out financial rewards for all the eco-friendly electricity generated, along with an additional sum for unused electricity exported to the local grid.

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If approved, the pilot scheme would put solar photovoltaic panels on the roofs of 164 council houses in the Highfields area.

The £438,000 project would coincide with the re-roofing works already proposed by St Leger Homes.

Mayor of Doncaster, Coun Ros Jones, said: “The solar panel scheme being considered would save tenants thousands of pounds over the longer term and offers them protection against rising electricity costs in the future.

“At a time when the council’s budget is under pressure due to government cuts, the guaranteed income delivered by the scheme is new money that can support vital services.

“I promised to help people with rising energy bills and by introducing schemes like this and the Big Power Switch we are helping to bring down the cost of living and tackle fuel poverty.”

The cost of electricity and heating homes has proved one of the biggest problems faced by tenants struggling to cope with the impact of austerity measures and public spending squeezes in Doncaster, according to the council.

“We are aware of the pressures of energy bills and are committed to exploring possibilities for offsetting these increased costs wherever possible,” said St Leger Homes’s director Susan Jones.