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United Kingdom Industry News

24/04/2012

Sun Rises For Housing Associations Under New Solar Model

Forrest, one of the leading Northern social housing regeneration specialists, has teamed up with renewable energy specialist Dimplex Renewables to launch a new self-funded solar power installation model for the social housing sector.

The "Renewable Energy Finance" scheme, the first of its kind in the industry, will allow landlords to install photovoltaic (PV) technology without any capital investment.

Under the model, the Government's now reduced FIT payment scheme covers installation costs via a finance solution for up to a 15 year period.

Residents can access free day-time electricity immediately after installation and Forrest says that the programme is cost neutral from the first year.

The contractor, which last year launched its own environmental services division Forrest Green that is now spearheading the programme, has engineered the model to be future proofed against any future changes to the Government’s timetable to gradually reduce FIT payments.

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Forrest Green has already secured some of the largest and most high-profile PV installation schemes in the sector including a 3,000 home project for Wrexham Council, the largest social housing solar PV scheme in Europe.

However a number of other housing groups had shelved plans for similar initiatives in light of the Government’s decision to bring forward its timetable to cut FIT fees from April this year.

Forrest Green says that it is already under discussions with a number of major Northern social landlords about resurrecting large-scale projects which had all but been abandoned following the FIT cut.

Lee McCarren, Chief Executive at Forrest, said: "Our role is much more than that of a contractor. We are a partner to social landlords with the ability to advise them on any aspect of their property infrastructure, and develop solutions for their problems.

"The Government's decision to cut FIT ahead of schedule meant that many landlords have had to re-appraise their aspirations of tackling fuel poverty and cutting carbon through solar power.

"What we've achieved through our partnership with Dimplex is a new form of financing specifically tailored to the social housing market which will allow it to flick the switch on green power without a single penny of expenditure.

"This isn't a model which can be applied in any industry. With significant property portfolios and long-term visibility over their assets, housing associations are perfectly placed to capitalise on innovative forms of financing that still stack up despite the significant cut in FIT income.

"There has been a lot of hot air about the death of solar PV but with the right approach this energy revolution can still transform thousands of homes across the UK."

(CD/GK)
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Sun Rises For Housing Associations Under New Solar Model - Forrest, one of the leading Northern social housing regeneration specialists, has teamed up with renewable energy specialist Dimplex Renewables to launch a new self-funded solar power install