North Somerset Housing offers free help to get best return from feed-in tariffs
Framework to help landlords buy PVs
North Somerset Housing is offering landlords free use of a framework to purchase solar photovoltaic panels in a move which it believes could save landlords six-figure sums.
The 6,500-home south west-based association spent £250,000 setting up a framework to allow it to invest in PV before the government’s feed-in tariff rate reduces next April.
The £28 million turnover association is using the framework to invest £10 million in installing an initial 120,000 PV panels on its roofs and is now encouraging other associations to follow suit and use its framework for free to avoid consultants’ fees.
NSH claims there is a growing appetite among associations to maximise returns from the FIT while reducing tenants’ bills by investing in PV themselves, instead of agreeing deals with companies offering free PV in return for collecting the tariff.
The FIT is set to fall after 2012, so landlords have a tight window to carry out due diligence, invest and then install panels.
Steve Drew, director of assets at NSH, said there is no commercial benefit to NSH itself of sharing the framework with other landlords.
He said: ‘Cash from the FIT should be retained by associations. But the process [of investing] is time consuming and the prospect of so much due diligence holds organisations back. So, we want to share our route so that it is quick and easy for other associations to follow, and so that the consultants don’t end up taking too much in way of fees.’
He calculated it would take landlords seven years to recoup their outlay, based on each panel generating £1,000 a year from the tariff over 25 years. He expected tenants to save an average £200 a year based on current energy prices.
According to Mr Drew, the framework, which has capacity for 750,000 PV panels, has already been accessed by associations such as Radian, Sovereign, Aster and North Devon Homes.
Duncan Price, director of green consultancy Camco, said: ‘Time is of the essence for the PV process. It could take at least three months to set up an Official Journal of the European Union process. Regardless of the route you take, PV is a great opportunity. For those with capital it is a good investment and for those without, the rent-a-roof schemes do make sense.’
In numbers: North Somerset Housing’s PV framework
cost of setting framework up
amount invested in photovoltaic panels by NSH
number of panels NSH to install
number of panels framework can still install