Solarplicity has set out plans to install solar PV panels on the rooftops of up to 800,000 homes in the next five years, as part of a £1bn programme to help the poorest households across England and Wales save hundreds of pounds a year in energy costs.
The scheme, which is backed by £192m in investment from Dutch firm Maas Capital, will see Solarplicity partner with social housing providers across England and Wales to install PV arrays at no cost to the tenants.
A Community Energy Scheme, set up by Solarplicity, will provide flat rate green energy tariffs to residents using power from the panels and other clean energy sources. The scheme will also distribute other energy saving technologies to tenants such as free LEDs and smart meters.
Solarplicity claim the access to cheaper green electricity will save tenants an average of £240 per year in energy compared to the cost of a standard variable tariff from one of the ‘Big Six’ energy companies, delivering total savings of £192m. The scheme is also set to create more than 1,000 new jobs, with many going to armed forces veterans who Solarplicity plans to retrain as green energy installers.
The programme was first announced in June, and further details of the investment from Maas Capita was set out in a statement on Saturday.
International Trade Minister Greg Hands welcomed further news of the investment, which according to Solarplicity was secured thanks to the support of the Department for International Trade.
“After a record year for new foreign investment into the UK, this initial £160m capital expenditure program will deliver massive benefits to some of the UK’s poorest households,” Hands said during a visit to a social housing development in West London, where PV panels were being installed. “As well as creating 1,000 jobs and delivering cheaper energy bills for up to 800,000 homes, it shows yet another vote of confidence in the UK as a place to invest and do business.”
The first 100,000 households are set to have solar panels installed over the next 18 months, with up to 800,000 households expected to benefit over five years. The North West will gain the most with 290,000 homes set to receive solar panels, followed by the North East with 184,000 and the Midlands with 154,000. More than 40 local authorities have already signed up to participate in the scheme.
In total Solarplicity said the £192m investment will unlock a solar installation programme worth £1bn.
“Today’s announcement is a reflection of our exciting growth in the energy market, backed by international capital investment through DIT,” chief executive David Elbourne said in a statement. “Solarplicity is committed to reducing energy bills for both solar and non-solar customers. Equipping them with the latest smart technologies, and 100 per cent renewable energy, they are guaranteed to save with our Fair Market Price.”