Housing in the UK accounts for 27 per cent of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and the government has suggested that all homes (both new-build and existing) may need to be ‘approaching zero carbon’ by 2050 in order to meet the UK’s target of 80 per cent reduction in CO2.
The average energy efficiency of public sector and housing association stock is currently better than that of the owner occupied sector but there are still around 10 per cent of tenants living in fuel poverty in England. By installing solar PV in social housing schemes, local authorities and landlords can potentially generate cheaper electricity for tenants, help in the fight against fuel poverty, lower their carbon footprint and boost the desirability of their housing stock.
There is also a financial incentive in the form of the government’s Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme. Introduced in the UK in April 2010, FITs offer payments to householders for the electricity they generate from renewable energy source that produces under 5mw capacity. Payment falls into two types: the generation tariff which pays a fixed amount whether or not the electricity generated is used, and the export tariff that allows unused electricity to be sold back to the National Grid.
FIT payments are index-linked for 20 years but the rate is determined by the date of installation and the sum is intended to reduce every three months for new entrants. It therefore makes economic sense to join the scheme as quickly as possible so that the maximum benefits can be passed on to residents. For more information visit the Ofgem website www.ofgem.gov.uk/e-serve/RHI.