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Brentfield Estate: giving existing homes a 21st century touch

A flavour of the project

London Housing Association tenants saw an unusual trend in their electricity bills. Rather than rise, as the case for the majority, some have their electricity bills cut by over a third in a year. Residents of the Brentfield Estate near the North Circular have seen a £120 saving per property following the installation of solar electric roof tiles on over 80 homes, with savings expected to rise as electricity prices rise.

Why solar energy?

As local council budget cuts around the country, housing providers are now taking advantage of the financial benefits of investing in solar power. A much needed income boost for the these organisations, solar power helps low-income families cope with the financial hardship caused by rising fuel prices; as well as helping the environment by cutting CO2 emissions.

Shaun Gillam, Senior Project Manager, Brent Housing Partnership said: “Solar power is a great way of investing in the future for our tenants. It is a way for us to reduce our residents’ expenditure on energy and meet energy efficiency targets whilst making a profit at the same time. With over 13000 BHP homes in Brent, we’re able to make a real difference to the quality of our tenants’ lives, by reinvesting our income in further energy efficiency projects.”

Brent Housing Partnership (BHP) chose Solarcentury's C21e solar electric tiles.

The feed-in tariff, paid by the government, guarantees a set price for every unit of green electricity generated for 25 years. BHP will receive a pre-tax income of £64,000 a year across the estate, rising with inflation.

The response

Gerry Doherty, Chief Executive of Brent Housing Partnership said: “This is just the beginning of our retrofit programme. We want as many of our residents to see their bills cut using solar PV as possible. But we can only do this because the income from the Feed-in tariff allows us to reinvest in energy efficiency programmes. That’s why it’s such a great scheme, we get to keep reinvesting one project after another because of the solid, sustainable income stream. We need such a sustainable model to really cut CO2 emissions and help protect our tenants from rising energy prices.”

Mrs Mariam Shah, Resident of Brentfield Estate said: “I am very pleased with the work; there has been a great deal of improvement. I feel that the works have created a sense of community and everyone has a more positive outlook now and are happier. I am also proud that my home is environmentally friendly and I am part of such a beneficial project.”

The bigger picture

Housing providers own an estimated 2.4 million homes across the UK. Many of these tenants live in fuel poverty, spending more than 10 per cent of their household income on heating and powering their homes.

If all housing association properties had an average sized solar electricity system, they could see a return of around £20,000 per home over 25 years and pass on thousands of pounds of electricity savings to tenants.

Power and payback

(Estimations only, correct at time of installation)

System size: 3 kWp average on 80 homes

Annual electricity savings, average per home: £120

Annual income from feed-in tariff, average per home: £800

CO2 savings per year: 1,326 - 1,590 kg per year

Download the case study

 

Brentfield Estate Housing Association fit C21e solar tiles

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