Solar power for Wrexham council houses plan backed

image captionThe council believes the scheme could generate a significant income

Plans for a £25m project to fit solar panels on a third of Wrexham council homes have been agreed in principle.

A business plan to fit photovoltaic (PV) panels to about 3,000 properties must now be presented to the council's executive board on 15 February, 2011.

The council estimates the panels will generate a net income of £25.7m over 25 years, thanks to a government scheme.

It is estimated to reduce CO2 levels, and reduce tenants' bills by up to 40%.

Wrexham believes it will be the first authority in Wales to run such a scheme.

The council would borrow the money to pay for the scheme, but hopes to take advantage of the UK government's Feed in Tariff, a 25-year scheme which allows surplus energy to be sold.

Extra income

Under that scheme, the council believes the panels would make enough money to repay the loan, and generate about £1m per year in extra income.

A report discussed on Tuesday said about 36% of the county's council houses could be suitable for PV installation.

It added: "This is expected to equate to approximately 3,000 properties following site surveys, for which installation of PV systems would cost approximately £24.9m."

The report estimated it could generate "a net income of just over £25.7m" for the council over 25 years.

"Furthermore it is estimated that the project will save approximately one tonne of CO2 per property each year, reducing the carbon footprint of the HRA housing by at least five per cent.

"The added benefits for tenants is that using the energy generated by the panels could reduce their energy bills by up to 40%."

There are also plans to install the panels on 13 non-domestic buildings, including schools and leisure centres, at a cost of £3.4m.

The council estimates these buildings could generate a net income of more than £3m over 25 years.

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