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£10m loan for social housing solar power scheme

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£10m loan for social housing solar power scheme

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Environment and also in Housing

Public sector buildings set to benefit from reforms to Low Carbon Building Programme Public sector buildings set to benefit from reforms to Low Carbon Building Programme

A UK institutional pension investor has loaned £10.1 million to a project providing free daytime solar energy to over 2,300 social housing homes in Sunderland.

The 20-year-loan will provide investors with an inflation-linked annual return, while profits from the deal will be reinvested in the local community.

Social enterprise Empower Community Management will use the funds to acquire and manage existing solar photovoltaic installations on 2,327 of social landlord Gentoo Group's homes and six corporate buildings.

It will continue to provide thousands of tenants with access to free daytime energy, which can reduce bills by up to 40%.

With the refinancing of its solar panels, Gentoo plans to roll out PV panels to an additional 3,000 homes in Sunderland.

Empower Community’s Alex Grayson said: “The beauty of this deal is that everybody’s interests are aligned: the investor makes solid financial returns, with measurable social and environmental impact; tenants enjoy access to free daytime power, which helps them escape fuel poverty; Gentoo enjoys an ongoing return and financing to continue their exciting developments and the community receives funding for local initiatives from the profits.”

Peter Walls, Gentoo chief executive, added: “We’re always looking for new ways to make a positive difference and influence change - this innovative deal with Empower Community does just that. Fuel poverty is a genuine concern with rising energy costs – ‘heat or eat’ is a reality that many vulnerable individuals in our society are now facing. This is a unique way to deliver more solar solutions to our customers, at no cost, with the additional benefits that the local community fund will bring.”

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