Kirklees to spend £9m on 2,000 solar panels

SUN POWER Solar panels.
SUN POWER Solar panels.

Almost £10m will be spent by Kirklees Council on 2,000 solar panels for council houses across the district.

The scheme will see 50 houses having solar panels this year, 1,000 in 2015/16 and 950 in 2016/17.

The £9.2m project is to be funded by the Housing Revenue Account, money that can only be spent on housing needs. The solar panels will also generate cash for the council as the energy will be fed back into the National Grid.

The decision was taken at a meeting of Kirklees Council’s Cabinet on Tuesday.

Cllr Cathy Scott, Cabinet Member for Place, said: “The project will target up to 2,000 households at risk of fuel poverty.

“A reduction in fuel poverty is the key driver for the project rather than maximising income and the intention would be to target properties with poor thermal efficiency.”

The solar panels are also expected to reduce household bills by £100 each year, with 50 per cent of the electricity generated used by the tenant.

Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing will consult with tenants about which homes are most suitable for the solar panels.

A list of 2,652 suitable houses was considered by councillors. This has been shared with Northern Powergrid, who will advise which properties are most suitable.

The project will mean a future income of £14 million overall based on the electricity generated, meaning it should become self-financing.

The majority of the work will be done by Kirklees Building Services, who are Green Deal accredited installers of the panels.

A pilot project targeting 34 bungalows in Mirfield was carried out successfully in 2013/4.