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City of York embark on solar plan


City of York Council is starting work on installing photovoltaic panels on suitable council homes to reduce carbon emissions and provide free daytime electricity for tenants.

Working with Empower Community Solar, the panels will be fitted on homes which have already been identified as potentially suitable in terms of size, orientation and pitch. The work will be carried out over the next six weeks at no cost to the council or to tenants to generate low cost, sustainable energy from daylight and could continue beyond that time, depending on an imminent announcement on Feed-in Tariff rules.

Once fitted, the panels will allow tenants to use as much of the free solar electricity generated as they wish during daylight hours. Research suggests this could supply in the region of 40 per cent of household requirements, while any electricity used outside daylight hours will be charged at the normal tariff. Tenants won't have to change their energy supplier.

To ensure the panels are placed on suitable roofs, the council is undertaking a joint survey of 780 homes with the installers, Nationwide Solar, to determine the exact size, angle, orientation and overshadowing of the roofs. Nationwide Solar will be contacting tenants to arrange the joint surveys and tenants will be asked to give their consent for panels to be installed and maintained - something which won't affect tenancies in any way.

Councillor Tracey Simpson-Laing, City of York Council's Cabinet member for Health, Housing and Adult Social Services said: "I believe it's essential that as a responsible landlord we take every opportunity to enable our tenants reduce their carbon footprint and reduce their energy bills. This low-carbon source of sustainable energy will serve to keep tenants comfortable, healthier and better off."

Steve Waddington, City of York Council's Assistant Director of Housing and Community Safety said: "It's great to see work to fit these panels has begun. We have been working with Empower Community and Community Energy Solutions for over 12 months to make the scheme viable and we are delighted that we are now in a position to start work. Unfortunately not every home is suitable for these panels but where it is the free electricity will significantly reduce the tenant's energy costs. "

Alex Grayson from Empower Community said: "Our mission is to accelerate the transition to sustainable, low carbon local economies and to start with Feed-in Tariff-backed solar PV for York's housing makes a lot of sense for all concerned. We're very happy to be undertaking this initial project with City of York Council and are hopeful that the new Feed-in Tariff rules, due to be announced today, will enable us to build on these first installations."

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