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Solar panel tenants now seeing the light
HOUSING association tenants in West Oxfordshire are seeing electricity bills plummet after a £6m investment in solar panels.
Cottsway Housing Association is a year in to the five-year project that could see £19m spent installing renewable energy systems.
Over the past year the non-profit company has installed solar panels on 942 homes and fitted 260 homes with air source heating systems.
Margaret Hudson, 71, of Combe, had solar panels and an air source heat pump installed on her Cottsway home in December. She said: “I was a bit dubious at first, like everyone else, because it changes the look of your house, but now I think it is absolutely wonderful.
“It is almost as if your electricity is free in the day now. I am over the moon.”
Mrs Hudson was spending almost £1,000 a year on oil to fill up her old central heating system. She is using the saved cash on slimming club membership.
More than 500 of the photovoltaic panels were installed by energy firm Kier.
The company installed panels ranging from 1.5kw to 3kw and said the project will cut electricity bills by up to 40 per cent a year.
Kier director Nigel Sheppard said: “We are delighted that the installation has gone so well.
“We have worked closely with Cottsway Housing Association and its tenants throughout the project which meant we understood their specific needs.
“With such a wide range of property types across a diverse geographically area we had to coordinate activity carefully and as such were able to work on up to 15 properties a day.”
Cottsway Housing Association chief executive David Waters said: “The aim of this is to have good heating systems in our properties that are also affordable for our residents.
“With increasing energy bills, anything we can do as landlords to improve the quality of life to our residents and also be environmentally friendly we will do.”
Any excess energy produced by the renewable systems will be sold back to the National Grid under the Feed in Tariff scheme.
Cottsway said it paid for the £6m outlay through its own money and loan.s Mr Waters added: “We are a non-profit making company so we can feed that money back into other services, and residents benefit from much lower bills.”
Cottsway Housing Association owns more than 4,000 homes across West Oxfordshire and its neighbouring districts.