Housing associations join innovative energy renewables initiative

Solar panelsSeveral rural housing associations have partnered on an innovative energy renewables initiative which has generated free electricity for tenants and reduced fuel poverty levels.

East Lothian Housing Association (ELHA) and Berwickshire Housing Association worked in partnership with Edison Energy to install solar PV panels which have generated free electricity for tenants.

However, as part of the Eastheat project, Edison Energy, ELHA and Castle Rock Edinvar Housing Association worked with Sunamp to add a battery to the solar PV system, which has resulted in even more free electricity for tenants.

Sunamp designs, produces and sells non-toxic, compact highly efficient heat batteries that can be used to store heat for a number of applications, including many renewable and low carbon technologies. The heat batteries make the renewable technology more effective, as the batteries deliver heat and hot water on demand.

The Eastheat project will target up to 1,500 properties. Tenants have benefited from free energy and heat, and the housing associations’ properties are meeting the Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing.

Martin Pollhammer, chief executive of ELHA, said: “It’s ironic that only a few weeks ago, the iconic chimneys at Cockenzie Power Station – so long an East Lothian landmark – were demolished. In place of that old coal fired technology, all over East Lothian, we are starting to see micro generation of clean green energy, much of which our tenants will be able to use for free.”

Fraser MacKenzie, business development director, Edison Energy, said: “The UK election results present a very challenging period for many businesses. We have seen ECO rates dropping, wind subsidies almost gone, the Green Deal now a memory and the UK government is currently reviewing the Feed in Tariff mechanisms that have, over the past five years, created and stimulated the renewable industry market. If the intended cuts go ahead early next year as planned, this will represent an almost eradication of the tariff levels, and, with housing associations and local authorities demonstrating a real appetite to embrace these technologies, what will this mean for the social housing sector?”

Joan Pisanek, business development manager at Sunamp, added: “The ability to use SolarPV to provide free electricity is well understood, but people only now understand that by installing the Sunamp heat batteries, their solarPV can also provide free hot water as well. The Eastheat project will help us demonstrate how Scotland could make a significant saving in the £2.6 billion we spend annually on heating and cooling our homes and businesses.”

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