A scheme to install solar panels on 6,000 Doncaster Council properties in a bid to slash energy bills has been given the green light.
Doncaster Council has pledged £1.2m to enable 270 houses and 596 flats to receive the solar panels on their roofs.
The local authority will seek external funding to pay for the remaining ‘self-financing’ solar panels by working with institutional investors in a bid to get private sector cash.
This option will be explored and taken to a later cabinet meeting.
It is estimated council house tenants in the borough will save about £175 per household per year over the next 20 years thanks to the move.
The shift to solar is also set to generate income for the council through the government’s ‘feed-in tariff’, which gives out financial rewards for all the eco-friendly electricity generated, along with an additional sum for unused electricity exported to the local grid.
Speaking at the Cabinet meeting yesterday where the scheme was given the go ahead, Doncaster Mayor Ros Jones said: “I am delighted to see this scheme coming forward. This should assist some of the most vulnerable residents.
“This is a self-funding scheme that will benefit many tenants.”
The move follows the approval in March of a pilot scheme to put solar photovoltaic panels on the roofs of 164 council houses in the Highfields area.
A report confirmed there are more than 6,000 council properties that have the potential for these solar panels in the borough.
The report discussed at the meeting stated: “In addition to assisting tenants with electricity savings of £1.5m over the life of the project, this scheme will deliver a net financial benefit to the council with annual cash flow being positive from year one of the scheme.
“This is an opportunity for the council to support its tenants by reducing the cost of their electricity bills and protect them against electricity price increases for the next 20 to 30 years.”
It is estimated that more than 12,000 Doncaster households experience fuel poverty.
According to the report, benefits to tenants will include reduced energy bills for low income households and money being saved that can be spent for the benefit of the local economy.
The scheme is also set to create and safeguard jobs and apprenticeships and generate income for the council.
The report added: “The introduction of renewable energy technologies is the next natural step to help protect residents against rising electricity prices.”
The programme is expected to be delivered over the next 12 months.