Hundreds of council homes to switch on solar power

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PLANS to install solar panels on 500 council homes across the city by 2023 have been approved by the Brighton & Hove City Council’s Housing Committee.

The plan will help cut tenants’ fuel bills by up to £150 a year per household and reduce total carbon emissions by 300 tonnes a year.

Councillor Siriol Hugh-Jones, the joint opposition spokesperson for housing, commented on the plan before the decision was made: “This is a great start and one of the many practical ways we achieve our commitment of becoming a carbon neutral city by 2030.

“In due course, we look forward to the council offering solar panels and the associated fuel savings to many more council tenants, in line with Labour and the Green Party’s pledge to address fuel poverty.”

The solar panels installed on the roof of each home will be wired directly into the fuse box, giving tenants in the property free electricity whenever the panels are generating power.

If the household is using more electricity than being generated, additional power will come from the national grid and be paid for in the normal way.

Any surplus electricity generated by the panels will be exported to the national grid.

With the approval now obtained, the process of procuring and awarding contracts has begun.

They committee has recommended that the Policy & Resources committee allocates a total of £1,750,000 in the budget over the next two years to pay for the work.

This will be in addition to £100,000 already allocated in this year’s budget.

Locations for panels have not yet been selected, but tenants will be given the choice to opt out if they don’t want solar panels on their home.

A total of 363 council houses in the city already have solar panels, most fitted under a previous project.

All newly built council homes are being fitted with solar panels.

While the current proposal relates specifically to council houses and bungalows, solar panels have also been fitted on some council-owned blocks of flats.

These include new flats in Buckley Close, Hangleton, where panels were fitted as part of an EU-funded project called Solarise.

Increasing the 500 houses to at least 2500 installations by 2026 are being planned, subject to further Committee approval.