Green light for solar power scheme

Solar panels will be installed on properties in a sheltered housing complex after a scheme was given the green light.

Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council will work in partnership with Aspire Housing to fit panels on 29 bungalows and a community hall in Kent Grove, Chesterton.

The social housing provider won a tender process which asked organisations to come up with ideas on the best way to spend £100,000 of council funding on a solar panel scheme.

Photovoltaic solar cells, attached to roofs, will convert sunlight into free electricity.

Residents will be able to use energy generated by the panels to run appliances and lighting, with any spare energy sold to the national grid.

It means each household will save an estimated £104 per year on their electricity bills.

Cllr. Robin Studd, Cabinet member for regeneration and planning, said: “The borough council is delighted to announce Aspire Housing as the winner of the contract.

“One of the council’s priorities is to reduce domestic energy use, which currently makes up 37 per cent of the borough’s carbon emissions.

“This is an excellent scheme which uses renewable energy to reduce reliance on the national grid and supports older people who are suffering from fuel poverty.”

Aspire Housing will also invest £135,000 which will meet installation costs for 15 of the bungalows and the hall.

Will Nixon, Aspire Housing’s Director of Regeneration, said: “In a recent consultation, customers told us that making their homes more energy efficient and reducing running costs is a priority.

“We are very pleased to work in partnership with the borough council to deliver this scheme which will make it more affordable for our customers at Kent Grove to heat and light their homes, as well as reducing the environmental impact of the scheme.

“We are committed to continuing this kind of innovative investment in our homes to benefit our customers and the wider community.”

The work will start in January and is expected to take two months to complete.