Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 5°C

min temp: 1°C

Search

Babergh/Mid Suffolk: Solar scheme to tackle fuel poverty and net councils £5million

11:32 03 February 2014

Babergh councillor Frank Lawrenson, who is behind the authority's solar initiative

Babergh councillor Frank Lawrenson, who is behind the authority's solar initiative

Archant

Thousands of homes in Suffolk could generate their own energy under a new initiative to help tackle fuel poverty and raise revenue for two local authorities.

Councillors at Babergh and Mid Suffolk are pushing for all suitable council-owned homes – around 2,150 in total – to be fitted with solar panels.

The project, which has officer backing and is already under way on sheltered housing in the districts, could net the combined councils around £5million over the next 20 years.

According to the Department for Energy and Climate Change, 20% of all households in Babergh and Mid-Suffolk – around 15,000 – are already in fuel poverty.

Frank Lawrenson, the Conservative councillor behind the initiative, would also like to see an additional ‘rent a roof’ scheme extended to private households on low incomes struggling with fuel bills.

If both projects were to come to fruition and work in tandem, Babergh could be the first council in the UK to become carbon negative while gaining 10% of its income from renewable energy at no cost to the taxpayer.

Both projects would be subject to the Government’s Feed in Tariff Scheme (FITS) which enables organisations or individuals to install small-scale low-carbon electricity generation systems such as solar photovoltaic (PV).

People then register the installation with a licensed electricity supplier who pays a tariff for electricity generated and an export tariff for any surplus electricity exported to the grid.

Mr Lawrenson, from Great Waldingfield near Sudbury, said the council needed to capitalise on the Government scheme while the subsidies were available. Installation work on the council-owned properties could start early summer.

He said: “With fuel poverty becoming an increasing issue, I would like to see our tenants get some of the benefits while guaranteeing the council will recoup its investment and generate an income to benefit all ratepayers.

“Council officers have indicated that around 35% of our housing stock has the right orientation to generate solar electricity.

“Officers are currently drawing up models to ensure that everyone benefits.”

In addition, Mr Lawrenson is pushing for a second scheme which could be rolled out to social landlords, private households and businesses.

He continued: “I would like to see the scheme extended to others in need in the form of a ‘rent a roof’ scheme.

“Under such a scheme the council could pay for the installation and maintenance while receiving the excess and the FITS benefits, and the property could receive free use of the electricity generated.

“It’s a great win-win for all concerned, enabling us to allow as many people as possible to reduce their energy bills.”

Mr Lawrenson said the council could borrow money to fund the scheme with minimal risk because of guaranteed returns under the FITS scheme.

Based on a total of 2,150 homes, officers estimate Babergh would generate close to £3million while Mid Suffolk would net £2million in income.

If the ‘rent a roof’ scheme gets off the ground, rather than selecting a national supplier to install systems, Mr Lawrenson would like to see work given to local contractors as a means of further boosting Suffolk’s economy.

He added: “We are grateful for the council officers’ help in getting the scheme this far and we will be pushing for them to prioritise the project.”

3 comments

  • Here we go again robbing the workers to benefit the scroungers. Let's hope there is stringent means testing done here, too many tenants are abusing the system with sob stories and then driving round in fancy cars and owning holiday retreats.

    Report this comment

    ej

    Tuesday, February 4, 2014

  • good idea for council houses , private houses no,this could go in reverse and become an extra tax.

    Report this comment

    TERENCE MANNING

    Monday, February 3, 2014

  • Although this is a good scheme on the face of it giving away free electricity and electricity bill payers subsidising the fortunate few who will have the panels. Why not wire them straight into bill payers wallets. Of course any council tenant who does not benefit from this will have their rent reduced to compensate them for the higher fuel bills caused by these hair brained schemes.

    Report this comment

    John W

    Monday, February 3, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

A crewman has died after a boiler backfired in the engine room of the Manhattan Bridge container ship as it was docking at Felixstowe port last night – causing an “explosion”.

A lorry has burst into flames following a crash with a car on the A14 westbound in Suffolk close to Needham Market.

Urgent improvements have been demanded of three food businesses in east Suffolk, according to hygiene inspection reports.

Animal welfare charities in Suffolk have urged caution over who found pets are given to after reports of a woman in Ipswich posing as an animal welfare officer to obtain a cat found by a homeowner in their garden.

Beach huts, morning runs and golden sand. Not exactly the Felixstowe you might be expecting in January.

Labour’s shadow trade and industry secretary Clive Lewis has visited Ipswich to encourage party members as thoughts start to turn towards this year’s election.

Today the sun is taking the edge off the biting January winds in Suffolk, the perfect winter’s day.

More than half the homes in Suffolk are in the bottom two council tax bands it has emerged.

A Suffolk man has been evicted from his hospital bed by court order after he “unnecessarily” refused to leave for more than two years.

National news this week have flagged up a shortage of courgettes in UK supermarkets. This will consequently affect prices with courgettes – and many other vegetables – becoming more costly.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

MyDate24 MyPhotos24