Free solar panel project steps up a gear in Leeds

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Tenants whose homes are potentially suitable for free solar panels are being contacted this week.

Leeds City Council is installing the energy generating kit on 1,000 council properties this year.

Council tenants will be able to use as much of the free electricity as they want during the daytime, cutting their energy bills and helping to reduce the city’s emissions.

Initial surveys have identified properties that might be suitable for solar panels and those tenants are being contacted this week to let them know they could benefit and the next steps in the project.

Councillor Richard Lewis, executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, said:

“About a third of Leeds’ carbon emissions come from the energy we use at home, so it makes perfect sense to help tenants save money and reduce their environmental impact.

“Many other people and businesses are already reaping the environmental and financial benefits of solar panels so this is another step to becoming a more sustainable city.”

Councillor Debra Coupar, executive member for communities, said:

“This is a significant investment in our housing stock that will benefit our tenants for years to come.

“Some people might think there is a catch but we can reassure them that there isn’t. We’ll be carrying out the work at no cost to tenants and they can use the electricity the panels make for free. It’s a win-win project for tenants and the city.”

Letters sent to tenants this week advise that a more detailed survey will be carried out by Better Homes Yorkshire. An assessor will check the size and angle of each roof, which way it faces and if it’s overshadowed by trees or other buildings.

If deemed suitable, solar panels will be installed. Tenants will need to sign a tenancy variation to agree to have the panels installed.

Any electricity tenants don’t use will be sold back to the national grid as part of the Government feed-in tariffs. After an initial outlay of £3.8 million, the solar panels will make the council around £6.4 million over 20 years, and tenants could also save around £4.4 million in electricity costs over the same period, working out at around £136 a year for each tenant.

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