Solar power homes scheme scaled back

First published in News

A PROJECT which would have seen more than 2,000 Colchester Council tenants benefit from free electricity through solar power has had to be scaled down.

In July, Colchester Council hired Breyer Group to install solar panels on around one in three of the council houses managed by Colchester Borough Homes.

The deal saw investors pay for the installation of the solar panels, with energy generated then used by residents living in the council homes Any surplus is sold back to the National Grid at a set tariff, with the investors getting a small proportion back. Colchester Council receives a set sum for each panel installed, while it is estimated tenants will save between £100 and £150 a year on their energy bills.

But earlier this month the Government halved the tariff from 43.3p to 21p per kilowatt hour, meaning any solar panels installed after December 12 are less attractive to investors.

While some local authorities have seen their projects collapse, Colchester Council has struck a deal with Breyer to continue with a watered-down scheme.

Paul Smith, councillor responsible for finance, said the deal meant a further 1,000 homes will have panels installed before April – in addition to the 700 which have already benefited from the project.

But about 400 to 500 others, whose roofs do not face directly south and so do not attract the most sunlight, have been put on the backburner.

Mr Smith said: “As soon as we heard of the Government’s changes, we did two things.

“Firstly we tried to speed up our programme as much as we possibly could.

“Secondly, we went back to the suppliers and funders and we found a way to carry the project forward. Everyone has had to make some sacrifices, but we’ve been able to work out something that will continue, so work will recommence in the New Year.

“We’d anticipate that another 1,000 or so tenants will get the opportunity to benefit – that’s 400 to 500 less that we hoped, but it’s a pretty good save.”

Mr Smith added the authority was awaiting the results of a judicial review after a High Court judge ruled the consultation period for the changes was inadequate.

If the results go in favour of the solar industry, more homes could have panels installed.

Comments (6)

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11:28am Thu 29 Dec 11

wellnow says...

if you have pay, as private house owner.it will take you 20/25yrs to pay for the installation,at current prices.this is not including running costs.how the council can put this forward as a money well spent beats me.maybe someone will inform me i'd like to know.
if you have pay, as private house owner.it will take you 20/25yrs to pay for the installation,at current prices.this is not including running costs.how the council can put this forward as a money well spent beats me.maybe someone will inform me i'd like to know. wellnow
  • Score: 0

12:46pm Thu 29 Dec 11

My Jaywick says...

Solar panels,
yet another get rich quick scheme gone wrong!

"buyer beware" Indeed...
Solar panels, yet another get rich quick scheme gone wrong! "buyer beware" Indeed... My Jaywick
  • Score: 0

1:13pm Thu 29 Dec 11

RogerWB says...

@wellnow

Your figures are nonsense. The 3kW of panels on our roof cost about £10500 and will generate about £1500 a year income for 25 years. That's a payback time of less than 8 years.

Obviously, our idiotic government has wrecked these figures but they were the ones the council were using when they started the scheme.

P.S. Even under the new scheme your figures are wrong. Panels have got cheaper so you can probably get 3kW for £9500. Say the FiT income is halved to £750 a year, This makes the payback time 12.7 years. Then you get another 12.3 years of £750 a year tax free income.
@wellnow Your figures are nonsense. The 3kW of panels on our roof cost about £10500 and will generate about £1500 a year income for 25 years. That's a payback time of less than 8 years. Obviously, our idiotic government has wrecked these figures but they were the ones the council were using when they started the scheme. P.S. Even under the new scheme your figures are wrong. Panels have got cheaper so you can probably get 3kW for £9500. Say the FiT income is halved to £750 a year, This makes the payback time 12.7 years. Then you get another 12.3 years of £750 a year tax free income. RogerWB
  • Score: 0

7:14pm Thu 29 Dec 11

saloo says...

Shame that half the houses or maisonettes they are sticking these on are prefabs that are well past their sell by dates despite the so called "decent homes" scheme that has suppposedly brought them up to standard!!
Shame that half the houses or maisonettes they are sticking these on are prefabs that are well past their sell by dates despite the so called "decent homes" scheme that has suppposedly brought them up to standard!! saloo
  • Score: 0

1:00pm Fri 30 Dec 11

Say It As It Is OK? says...

RogerWB wrote:
@wellnow

Your figures are nonsense. The 3kW of panels on our roof cost about £10500 and will generate about £1500 a year income for 25 years. That's a payback time of less than 8 years.

Obviously, our idiotic government has wrecked these figures but they were the ones the council were using when they started the scheme.

P.S. Even under the new scheme your figures are wrong. Panels have got cheaper so you can probably get 3kW for £9500. Say the FiT income is halved to £750 a year, This makes the payback time 12.7 years. Then you get another 12.3 years of £750 a year tax free income.
I won't argue with your figures but you have not factored in the income on the capital outlay over 25 years, which would, @3%, be around £300pa (plus any compounded interest) This would need to be deducted from any income made from the sale of generated electricity.

Also something most don't calculate the average term most people stay in one property is around 9.5 years and unless they move to another property that have solar panels then they will need to start again.
[quote][p][bold]RogerWB[/bold] wrote: @wellnow Your figures are nonsense. The 3kW of panels on our roof cost about £10500 and will generate about £1500 a year income for 25 years. That's a payback time of less than 8 years. Obviously, our idiotic government has wrecked these figures but they were the ones the council were using when they started the scheme. P.S. Even under the new scheme your figures are wrong. Panels have got cheaper so you can probably get 3kW for £9500. Say the FiT income is halved to £750 a year, This makes the payback time 12.7 years. Then you get another 12.3 years of £750 a year tax free income.[/p][/quote]I won't argue with your figures but you have not factored in the income on the capital outlay over 25 years, which would, @3%, be around £300pa (plus any compounded interest) This would need to be deducted from any income made from the sale of generated electricity. Also something most don't calculate the average term most people stay in one property is around 9.5 years and unless they move to another property that have solar panels then they will need to start again. Say It As It Is OK?
  • Score: 0

9:12pm Sun 1 Jan 12

Boris says...

My Jaywick wrote:
Solar panels,
yet another get rich quick scheme gone wrong!

"buyer beware" Indeed...
It "went wrong" because your beloved Tory government recognised that the feed-in tariff was unsustainable, and was serving only to transfer money from the poor to the rich. So they halved the tariff, a very sensible move. They don't often get things right, but this was a good decision.
[quote][p][bold]My Jaywick[/bold] wrote: Solar panels, yet another get rich quick scheme gone wrong! "buyer beware" Indeed...[/p][/quote]It "went wrong" because your beloved Tory government recognised that the feed-in tariff was unsustainable, and was serving only to transfer money from the poor to the rich. So they halved the tariff, a very sensible move. They don't often get things right, but this was a good decision. Boris
  • Score: 0

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