Council homes to go solar

A council could begin offering housing tenants free electricity if it agrees to plans to install solar panels on its building stock.

Councillors at Eastbourne Borough Council have given initial approval to the business case for installing the panels under the feed-in-tariffs (FITs) scheme.

According to the council capital investment on £13million will cover the 25 year scheme, with the council able to sell all excess power back to the grid and saving covering the costs of electricity bills.

The scheme, which the council says is being ‘closely monitored’ by other authorities, could see between 700 and 1500 council owned houses and non-domestic buildings, generating free electricity for those tenants living in them.

The self-funded option chosen by councillors, but still pending an internal legal review by the authority, will mean the council providing the initial investment and keeping all of the FITs income.

Eastbourne Borough Council leader, David Tutt, said: “Eastbourne is now a step closer to leading a solar revolution and is amongst the first pioneering authorities to seriously consider the potential offered by sustainable energy.

“We still have some work to do before we can make this a reality; however, with such an innovative scheme like this it is right and proper to ensure we have completed all the right checks before committing funding.

“Everyone knows Eastbourne is one of the sunniest towns in the UK and we hope to have a final positive decision within weeks so we can start to harness our considerable sunshine advantage.”

Luke Walsh

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