Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Joint buying scheme offers residents reduced cost solar panel installation

Residents interested in investigating the cost of installing solar panels on their rooftops are invited to register for the Solar Together Sussex scheme which is supported by Hastings Borough Council and other councils across Sussex. Nick Terdre reports. Photos by Russell Jacobs.

The Solar Together Sussex scheme offers “significant savings” on solar panel installations by accredited contractors through a collective buying approach, HBC said. It is run by iChoosr, who describe themselves as “experts in group-buying schemes.”

The deadline for registration is Tuesday 6 October. “Once registration closes, accredited installers will bid for the work,” HBC said. “This approach helps to drive prices down and ensure that residents get a high-quality system and save money.

“If your house is suitable for solar panels, you will receive a personal recommendation outlining the cost and return on investment.”

Interested households can register here. The scheme is open to residents who own their own home or tenants who have permission from their landlords to install solar panels. Registration is free and there is no obligation to go ahead with an installation. Some basic information about your roof, including its size and orientation, is required.

The scheme will help HBC towards its target of making the town carbon neutral by 2030, said Cllr Maya Evans, who holds the natural environment and leisure portfolio.

Reducing the carbon footprint

“By installing solar panels and therefore generating zero carbon electricity at home, the average household could reduce their annual carbon footprint by approximately one tonne each year,” she said.

“We hope that this offer from Solar Together Sussex will encourage more residents to consider installing solar panels on their homes, hopefully with a significant saving via the scheme too.”

The government’s decision to scrap the feed-in tariff has reduced the economic benefits of installing solar panels, but it is still an attractive proposition according to Richard Watson, a director of the local energy coop Energise Sussex Coast. “Solar works really well on the south coast, and this year we have seen some of our school solar projects generate up to 135% of what was estimated,” he told HOT.

“With low installation costs from bulk buying it should easily be possible for people to get a 10-15 year payback of the cost, and any homeowners who do not have the capital upfront can use the HBC supported Parity Trust loan at 5.49%, which over 15 years should not cost more than the money they will be saving.”

The residential sector is the single largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in Hastings – just over 120,000 tonnes in 2017, according to research carried out during the preparation of the council’s climate change strategy. This puts the replacement in homes of energy generated from fossil fuels by renewable energy at the forefront of the local battle against global warming.

The climate change strategy includes a programme for rolling out rooftop solar in Hastings. “The council is still looking to progress its own solar rooftop scheme but due to current circumstances this is still delayed,” a spokesman told HOT. “The hope is to be able to deliver the programme in 2021.”


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Posted 18:55 Wednesday, Sep 30, 2020 In: Energy

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