The panels, which generate free electricity, will cut customers’ energy bills and help to reduce the organisation’s carbon footprint.
Local contractor G F Tomlinson and Hertfordshire-based Solarplicity have teamed up to fund and install the panels on customers’ roofs. ‘Rent a roof’ deals enable contractors to make returns on their investment from government tariffs for the electricity that’s been generated, whether it was used by the customer or not.
Andy Nickels, head of asset management at Derwent Living said: “The solar panel deal will help cut the cost of energy bills for thousands of our customers, which is great news. We’re committed to using renewables wherever possible, and reducing our impact on the environment while maintaining properties is a key part of operating sustainably in the future.”
Housing associations and contractors were some of the first organisations to begin solar programmes following the launch of the feed-in tariff (FIT) in 2010. These have slowed since 2012 following cuts to the unit price of energy generated making large scale installations harder for housing providers to fund.
Nickels continued: “We’ve been trying to put solar panels on customers’ roofs for a number of years, but it hasn’t always been viable. This new deal means we can bring the benefits of solar installations to a large number of customers at no cost to the business.”
The panels will be offered to residents whose homes are South-facing, in order to get the most exposure to the sun during the day. Derwent Living has already begun contacting residents who qualify for a solar panel installations with fittings already well underway and hope to have all work completed by the end of the year.