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Free solar panels in York.


12:01am 8th August 2011

Thousands of council homes set to receive free solar power

Up to 3,000 council households in York could be amongst the first in the UK to benefit from a large scheme to bring solar panels to homes in the city.

City of York Council is to access funding made available through the governments the Feed in Tariff (FiT), through a partner agency EM Power, to enable solar panels to be installed on council owned properties to help significantly reduce tenants' fuel bills.

The Feed in Tariff (FiT government funding) was introduced nationally on April 1 2010 and will pay for the scheme and provide the council with a valuable long-term income stream, helping to facilitate new environmental projects within local communities.

Initial surveys have already been carried out to determine which properties could be eligible for the solar panels and includes houses that have a correct angled roof and face in the right position.

Approximately 3,000 council households in York have been identified as eligible and as a result will receive a letter this week inviting them to attend a number of events to explain how the solar panels work and how they could benefit from this scheme.

Cllr Tracey Simpson-Laing, cabinet member for Health, Housing and Adult Social Services, at City of York Council, said:

"This is a fantastic opportunity for tenants and one which I fully support. I would encourage tenants who live in homes which are suitable to participate as there's no cost to them or the council.
"Tenants will have a choice as to whether or not they would like to have the solar panels installed and the installation will only take a couple days on each property with minimal disturbance, so they don't have to leave their homes whilst the panels are being fitted.

"Ultimately though this is about helping tenants to save money by cutting down on their electricity bills, and solar power generates about 40% of all energy used so this could really lead to some dramatic savings."

Yorkshire based Community Energy Solutions (CES) has been appointed to project mange the scheme and Empower Community (EC) will install the panels.

The solar panels convert sunlight into zero carbon electricity, which can be used directly in the property, with any surplus being exported back to the National Grid.  

A number of Solar Panel Programme Open Days will be taking place across the city to advise tenants of what they need to do next.

A company called MITIE will also be in contacting tenants shortly to arrange for a survey of the property between now and the end of January 2012.

If anyone has any questions about solar panels and how they work they can call the Yorkshire Energy Partnership who work in partnership with City of York Council to deliver expert energy efficiency advice on 01904 554406.

Tenants are advised to attend the Solar Panel Programme Open Days on:

DATE                      TIME                        VENUE
Sat 6th Aug       10am - 12noon       Tang Hall Community Centre
Tues 9th Aug     5.30pm - 7.30pm    The Guildhall
Weds 10th Aug 5.30pm - 7.30pm    Sanderson Court Community House
Thur 11th Aug    5.30pm - 7.30pm    Bell Farm Social Hall
Sat 13th Aug     10am - 12noon       Burton Stone Community Centre
Tues 16th Aug   5.30pm - 7.30pm    Foxwood Community Centre
Wed 17th Aug   5.30pm - 7.30pm    Burton Stone Community Centre
Thur 18th Aug   5.30pm - 7.30pm    Tang Hall Library
Sat 20th Aug    10am - 12noon       Acomb Explore

Although approximately 3,000 homes have been primarily identified as eligible, its likely 30 per cent of those will not be suitable when a more in-depth survey is carried out by MITIE

The aim is for the solar systems to be installed between September and March 2012.

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