Looks like a good take up amongst residents and local businesses who are being offered an easy way to invest in solar panels and battery storage to power their homes with clean energy and support the council’s net zero carbon ambitions.
Bath and North East Somerset Council is participating in Phase 2 of the Solar Together West of England Scheme, a group-buying scheme that is being delivered in partnership with the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and their partner iChoosr Ltd, independent experts in group-buying.
In the two weeks since registration opened, more than 620 people have registered their interest in B&NES, including 10 businesses.
During the first round of the scheme in 2021, a total of 1,620 property owners across B&NES registered for the scheme with 278 installing solar panels and 176 installing battery storage systems. The installations delivered through the 2021 scheme across the whole of the West of England equates to an estimated 18,000 tonnes of carbon reduction over 25 years.
Bath & North East Somerset Council has declared a climate emergency and committed to providing the leadership for the district to become carbon neutral by 2030. One of the key priorities to achieve this is a rapid and large-scale increase in local renewable energy generation.
Councillor Sarah Warren deputy leader, and cabinet member for Climate Emergency and Sustainable Travel said: “The first phase of the Solar Together scheme proved very popular with B&NES residents. iChoosr have built on that successful first phase and introduced a number of measures to improve customer service and communication during the process, so we hope that many more homeowners and businesses will sign up for this second phase. Because of the way the scheme works, the more people that take part, the better the price that Solar Together can secure for everyone and the more renewable energy will be generated. Those who take part will be able to make the switch to renewable energy, while supporting our region’s shared ambition to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030.”
Homeowners can register with the Solar Together West of England group-buying scheme for free, providing details about their roof size and orientation. An auction will be held at which pre-vetted solar installers will submit bids for the work. Homeowners will then be sent costs and specifications for their system, but there is no obligation to proceed to installation.
You can find more information about the how the scheme works on the council’s Energy at Home website.
Residents can also register to have battery storage added to their existing solar panels to maximise the benefits of their system.
Installations will generally not need planning permission, however in some cases, such as in Conservation Areas or on a Listed Building, planning permission may be required. There is more information on the council website: https://www.energyathome.org.uk/planning
Owner-occupiers and landlords of B&NES homes can apply for a low-cost loan with Lendology to help spread the cost of the solar or battery installation. More information here: https://www.energyathome.org.uk/grants-and-support
The Retrofit West initiative also aims to help homeowners in the West of England to introduce improvements that enhance energy efficiency of their properties. Anyone interested in retrofitting their home can visit the Homeowner Advice Service, which provides clear guidance and support.