First Empower Community area-wide solar PV scheme set to kick off in Peterborough

Council set to spearhead solar scheme for residential homeowners

A pioneering new scheme which will offer owners of residential homes in Peterborough the chance to have solar panels installed on their properties is being considered by Peterborough City Council.

At a meeting on Monday 15 December 2014, Cabinet members will be asked to approve the council entering into partnership with social enterprise Empower Community Management LLP, to deliver solar panels on private properties in the city.

If Cabinet agrees the proposals, it will be the first scheme of its kind in the country.

Under the scheme, property owners would benefit from in the region of £200 worth of free energy each year generated by the solar panels and a one-off payment of £100 every five years for their participation in the scheme. There would be no cost to the owner of the property whatsoever.

A community fund would be established out of a percentage of the money the scheme generates. Based on an assumed take-up of 1,500 properties, the fund could total around £1 million over the 20 years of the scheme. In addition, the council would also expect to generate in the region of £1million during the same period. Councillor Marco Cereste, leader of the council and cabinet member for growth, strategic planning, housing, economic development and business engagement, said: “The partnership that we want to enter into with Empower Community is a win/win for our residents, the council and the wider city. It also bolsters our ever growing environmental credentials by reducing the carbon footprint of our residents and the city as a whole.

“Currently, having solar panels on residential properties tends to be restricted to those who can afford them, people who are approached by companies who install solar panels for free and those who live in social housing.

“The partnership with Empower Community could potentially offer every residential home owner in the city the chance to benefit financially and environmentally from the benefits of solar energy.

“In addition, there would be a benefit for the wider community through the community fund, and the money the council will generate over the life of the scheme which could be used to protect frontline services.

“As is well documented, our grant from government has been reduced by £40 million since 2010 and this trend sees no sign of slowing pace. We have got to look at new and innovative ways of working to attract investment, through schemes such as this, so that we can continue to provide the services that our residents need and expect from us.”

The proposal is for the scheme to be trialled in the areas of the city which have formed part of the Green Deal Community Fund – Bourges Boulevard, Clarence Road, Cromwell Road, Crown Street, Dogsthorpe Road, Eastfield Road, Gladstone Street, Harris Street, Lincoln Road and St Paul’s Road.

If the scheme is successful in these areas, then it will be rolled out to the remainder of the city.

If Cabinet approves the partnership with Empower Community at its meeting on 15 December, residents in the trial area will receive more information about how to find out more and sign up

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