UK solar radiation map

With the advent of Feed-in Tariffs, installing solar PV at scale has become an intriguing option for social landlords. With economies of scale, solar panels offer the chance to tackle fuel poverty while offering the chance of reliable income stream for councils and housing associations to invest in other services.

This surely rings truer than anywhere else in the South West, where they statistically boast the highest solar irradiation levels in the whole of the UK – that red-hot patch on the map above says it all, really.

But it doesn’t alter the fact that many organisations capable of installing many units in people’s homes are put off by the perceived difficulties and unknowns of such a scheme.

With this in mind we have just reported the results of our detailed ‘Solar Sunroofs’ study, in conjunction with our friends at Regen SW, looking at the business case for a roll out of PV in the South West.

Our starting point is the ambitious aim to kick-start a solar revolution that could see 100,000 PV panels installed on roofs in the region by 2020.

The Solar Sunroofs concept is all about stimulating private sector activity to achieve this goal by facilitating the installation of PV systems on local authority or housing association properties at scale and developing the local supply chain. At the same time, we want to help these bodies minimise administrative burden.

The project ended with some promising signs: North Somerset Housing starting a procurement process and willing to collaborate with others; Swindon Borough Council and Poole Housing Partnership on the verge of making a start.

We’re hoping the results will set a national benchmark, and guide us as we ramp up our work with local authorities and housing associations around renewable energy of all kinds.

You can view the report in full here.