Up to 4,500 homes in Tameside, Greater Manchester, will be installed with solar panels as part of an international first solar license deal worth over £18 million.
The license deal between Taiwanese solar cell manufacturer GES and housing association New Charter in Tameside was first announced in August and is set to save tenants around £40 million over the next 25 years, as well as save 133,500 tonnes in carbon emissions.
When completed, it will be the UK’s biggest solar panel network for a housing association.
Under the deal, which is believed to be an international first, GES has a license to use the roofs of 4,500 of New Charter’s homes, with the housing association retaining overall control of how the roofs are used. This contrasts with standard lease agreements, where control is assumed by the solar panel owner.
GES is installing the solar panels at its own cost and will operate them for 20 years, benefitting from revenues provided by the government-guaranteed Feed-In Tariff (FiT). Meanwhile, tenants will benefit from savings of between £200 and £400 a year on their electricity bills.
This month, the number of homes fitted with solar panels hit 1,000. GES marked the milestone by donating and fitting panels for 2nd Generation Furnishings, a local charity in Stalybridge supported by New Charter.
GES chairman, Dr Quincy Lin, who flew from Taiwan for the event, said: “This solar panel project is the first we have done in the UK and is an extremely significant deal for GES.
“[The deal] allows New Charter to retain control over the roof and their tenants benefit from reduced bills through the energy produced by the panels on their homes.”
Ian Munro, chief executive of New Charter, added: “There may be almost 10,000 miles between our two countries but there is a shared goal to cut carbon emissions and improve the planet’s environment.
“The initiative is also helping to tackle fuel poverty for our tenants, who have suffered due to rising energy costs.”