14th December 2011
Habinteg Housing Association have achieved what’s believed to be one of the largest solar PV installation programmes in the social housing sector, despite the short deadline imposed by October’s Feed In Tariff (FiT) announcement. By the new deadline of 12 December the association had fitted and registered panels at 840 properties in locations as widespread as Cornwall and Hull bringing their total Solar PV portfolio to 871 systems.
Habinteg met with their contractors, Norton Energy Solutions (NES), to devise an acceleration plan as soon as the new deadline was announced on 31 October 2011. NES brought extra fitting teams on board and negotiated supplies whilst Habinteg staff worked to speed up tenant communications and managed the impact of the accelerated programme on their housing schemes.
Habinteg tenant, Paddy Bannon from Dunstable said:
“The team really pulled out the stops on our scheme. There were lots of vans and activity during the fitting but it all seemed to go smoothly. My place was kitted out in the space of half a day. I’m now trying to take advantage of the electricity generated by using my electrical appliances during the day. It’s really bringing to life the idea of ‘making hay while the sun shines’. I’m looking forward to seeing how much difference it will make to my first bill! Habinteg should be congratulated on proactively introducing this win-win scheme which can benefit tenants now as well as the longer term prospects of the organisation.”
Although falling short of the 1000 systems originally planned for installation by April 2012, Habinteg Chief Executive Paul Gamble is proud of the outcome of the £7m project, he said:
“We got involved with Solar PV primarily to generate income allowing us to sustain a high quality service into the future, so we were determined to deliver as much of the plan as possible despite the shorter timescale. This is an amazing achievement resulting from a great team effort. Our own project team and NES have worked extremely hard behind the scenes and we’ve had great feedback about the on-site fitters from our tenants, many of whom will benefit from reduced energy bills as a result of the project.”
As specialists in housing and disability Habinteg manages some 3300 homes in England and Wales of which around a third are designed specifically for wheelchair users. The association plans to invest the net income from the project in further energy efficiency programmes to support tenants and address fuel poverty issues, which disproportionally effect disabled people.