New contractor funding deal to restart housing PV

Aaron Morby 12 years ago
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Northern social housing contractor Forrest has struck a deal with a finance house to recharge stalled solar power projects.

Several major social housing photovoltaic projects were shelved when the Government decided bring forward its timetable to cut Feed in Tariff fees to April.

But Forrest hopes to to flick the switch on again with a new self-funded solar power installation model for social housing landlords, set up in partnership with renewable energy specialist Dimplex Renewables.

The “Renewable Energy Finance” scheme is the first of its kind in the industry and allows landlords to install photovoltaic panels without any capital outlay.

Lee McCarren, chief executive at Forrest: “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.”

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 in a funding programme is cost neutral from the first year.

The contractor’s environmental services division Forrest Green has engineered the model to be future proofed against any future changes to the Government’s timetable to gradually reduce FIT payments.

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.

Forrest Green is now in talks with several major Northern social landlords about resurrecting large-scale projects which had all but been abandoned following the FIT cut.

McCarren 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.

He added: “What we’ve achieved through our partnership with Dimplex is a new form of financing specifically tailored to the social housing market.

“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.

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