Reading Borough Council takes a lead on solar PV.
Reading Borough Council was one of the first UK local authorities to spot the opportunity of solar energy when they installed solar photovoltaic systems on 43 public buildings back in 2011
Once Reading Borough Council had proved that solar PV could work on their corporate buildings, the next step was to look at their social housing stock. Could they make an investment that would produce an acceptable rate of return, reduce fuel poverty and cut the council’s carbon footprint?
As genuine solar experts, Joju Solar understood that getting the most from Reading’s investment meant:
carrying out an accurate assessment of roofs;
finding the right balance of fixed and variable costs when deciding system size; and
selecting the right components to secure the best system for the price.
Joju Solar conducted a full desktop survey of all potential properties, identifying the 450 roofs most suitable for the systems. The final proposal comprised nearly 7,000 panels with a total generation capacity of 1.67 MWp – equivalent to powering 720,000 smartphones for an entire year.
Joju Solar had considerable experience of tenant liaison, developed during previous social housing contracts, and worked closely with the council to generate awareness and enthusiasm for the project. Both partners knew that, to have the greatest impact, tenants had to understand what was going on and appreciate the benefits that they stood to gain.
Cllr Richard Davies, Reading’s Lead Member for Housing, said: “We worked very hard to select the houses according to their suitability for solar panels, but in fact all tenants benefited from the project because those whose homes did not fit the criteria were provided with help to find other ways to reduce their energy consumption and their fuel bills.”
Using installation teams and project managers with experience from previous social housing projects, Joju set about installing 450 PV systems in three months.
Solar PV – a quadruple win
The Reading project has attracted positive coverage in the local press. Joju Solar Founder and Commercial Director, Joe Michaels, is delighted: “Solar PV is a quadruple win for social housing landlords like Reading,” he says. “It provides a guaranteed financial return, an extension on roofing life, assistance with fuel poverty targets, and carbon savings.”
April 5, 2016
bbh, Featured, Public Sector, Residential, Solar