UK social housing tenants to get solar roofs, thanks to Dutch money

Dutch investors are putting £160 million into a UK renewable energy scheme to help install rooftop solar panels for social housing tenants across England the Wales.

A UK initiative to provide some of the poorest households access to cheap solar energy got a huge boost a few days ago after the Dutch investment firm Maas Capital (part of ABN Amro Bank) invested £160 million into the scheme.

The UK government welcomed the investment, which is needed to unlock the rest of the £1 billion installation programme.

David Elbourne, CEO of the UK energy company Solarplicity, called the announcement “a reflection of our exciting growth in the energy market, backed by international capital investment through the Department of International Trade”.

Solarplicity is partnering with social housing providers to install panels on their housing stock across England and Wales. Around 100,000 households will receive panels in the next 18 months, and 800,000 total in the next five years.

The panels will be free to social housing tenants, reducing their energy bills by an average of £240 a year, saving up to £192 million a year in energy costs.

The deal will also create over 1,000 new jobs to install and maintain the panels, many of which will go to veterans from the armed forces. Solarplicity is retraining them for maintenance careers in the solar industry.

Speaking from a social housing development in Ealing, West London, where new solar panels are being installed, International Trade Minister Greg Hands said that the initial £160 million capital expenditure programme “will deliver massive benefits to some of the UK’s poorest households”.

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