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Landlord rushes to fit solar panels ahead of tariff cuts

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Landlord rushes to fit solar panels ahead of tariff cuts

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Published by Julien Tremblin for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Environment

Landlord rushes to fit solar panels ahead of tariff cuts Landlord rushes to fit solar panels ahead of tariff cuts

A Merseyside housing association is completing a scheme to fit solar panels onto its offices and some properties before the Government’s planned cut in Feed-in Tariffs.

Social landlord Knowsley Housing Trust (KHT) - which manages around 13,000 homes - wants to ensure all panels are fitted before 3 March, when tariffs will drop from 43.3p/kWh to just 21p.

KHT - part of the First Ark Group - is working with contractors Dodd Group Ltd to install the PV panels to 21 low-rise blocks, 10 mid-rise blocks and two of its offices.

KHT is spending £750,000 on the scheme, which will generate a return over the next 25 years through the Government’s Feed in Tariffs to cover the cost of installation.

Ian Thomson, Executive Director of Asset Management at KHT, said: “This scheme will help tackle fuel poverty in our communities and reduce our carbon footprint.

“We anticipate it will save 31 tonnes of carbon a year and help reduce energy bills for our tenants, which will be a huge help for many families, and any money we make will be re-invested into communities through future retro-fit or energy saving projects.”

The panels will be installed in clusters on top of the communal blocks, with a total of 31 clusters planned in total.

The cut in tariff was to come into force on 12 December – before the close of a consultation on the issue.

However, the High Court has ruled that the move was unlawful, and the Government now considers appealing the decision to the Supreme Court.

As such, uncertainty still remains over whether installations completed between December 12 and March 3 will receive the full or reduced rate.

Mr Thomson said: “We won’t know for sure which rate is in place before March 3 until after the legal processes have been completed, but we didn’t want to take that chance and possibly miss out.

“Our ability to re-invest the money generated in other energy saving projects will be dramatically reduced if our return is effectively halved. However we had to push ahead and can now only await the outcome of the Government’s appeal.”

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