One district council in East Sussex is lowering its environmental impact and making a strong investment in sustainable energy by giving hundreds of its tenants across its area solar panels on their homes.
Installing the photovoltaic (PV) panels to provide solar electricity on more than 500 of the council’s properties has gone well so far.
A spokesman for Lewes District Council said: “We only installed these solar panels a few months ago, but already hundreds of our tenants are feeling the benefit, with electricity for free during hours of daylight and, in some cases, electricity bills up to 40% lower.
“At the same time, funds raised through this scheme can be re-invested in council services, which saves our council tax payers money, so everyone wins in a situation like this.”
Having begun in an area of the district called Newhaven, the installation of solar panels has been rolled out on several council homes across Lewes, and the installation has been carried out by approved installers working on behalf of the district council.
The project has seen the council joining forces with local tenants’ groups. The chair of one, Tenants of Lewes District, said: “Tenants are delighted, and have been feeling the benefits both environmentally and financially.”
But Lewes is not alone. The first solar-powered home in the UK this summer celebrated its 20th anniversary and now solar electricity seems pretty normal to most of us.
In fact, on average across the UK, there are now two solar-powered homes on every street.
Across the UK, communities like Lewes have been converting roofs into mini power stations, while the resulting profits have been ploughed back into education, jobs and fighting fuel poverty.
All of which seems to make recent government decisions to cut renewable energy subsidies while subsidising fossil fuels all the more surprising. These cuts put many jobs at risk while threatening the UK’s ability to meet its legal duties on EU renewable energy targets.
Cuts or not, however, you can still make the investments in solar electricity yourself, and start to feel the benefits extremely quickly.