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Posted On: 01-10-2020
Posted In: Environment

man wearing hard hat fixing solar panels to a roofDevon residents have until the end of Monday, 5 October to join more than 2,500 others and register their interest in Devon Climate Emergency’s (DCE) solar-panel group buying scheme.

Devon Solar Together is the latest in a series of similar schemes across the country which aims to boost the county’s renewable energy capacity.

It offers homeowners the chance to buy high quality solar PV more cheaply than if they were buying alone and to help reduce Devon carbon emissions.

The DCE, which includes Devon County Council, the county’s eight district councils and two National Park Authorities, is currently drafting a Carbon Plan, the county’s roadmap to net-zero.

More than a fifth of Devon’s carbon emissions are generated by our homes, and so far more than 2,500 Devon households have registered their interest in the scheme.

If every one of those homes installed solar panels it would reduce the amount of carbon entering the atmosphere by almost 50,000 tonnes.

The first step is to register online, without obligation, before Tuesday, 6 October. Then pre-vetted suppliers participate in an auction.

Then, from 26 October, registered households will receive a personal recommendation, specific to the details they submitted in their registration.

Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Councillor Elizabeth Wainwright, said:

“This fantastic scheme affords residents and small to medium-sized businesses the power of group buying to purchase discounted solar panel systems for their homes or premises.
“Battery storage is also offered as part of a complete system or on their own for those that already have just the photovoltaic panels installed, meaning your solar energy can be stored for use at night, thereby reducing your dependence on grid-supplied electricity.
“The scheme, which is backed by the Devon Climate Emergency Response Group is time limited. I'm urging those residents and businesses that feel able to be part of the scheme to register their interest with no obligation before the closing date on Tuesday, 6 October.
“Not only will it help homeowners to save money on their energy bills, it will also help Mid Devon District Council meet its target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.”

Dr Phil Norrey, Chairman of the DCE Response Group, said: 

“Given that our homes produce more than a fifth of carbon emissions in Devon this scheme gives homeowners the chance to reduce their emissions.
“The DCE is committed to ensuring that Devon is net-zero by 2050 at the very latest.
“We will all have to take responsibility for our own carbon footprints and Devon Solar Together offers homeowners a chance to be part of the solution.
“So, if you are thinking of installing solar panels on your homes, I would encourage you to register before October 6 to see what Devon Solar together has to offer.”

Marie-Louise Abretti, Manager of Solar Together said:

“Now more than ever we are looking for opportunities to save on our home energy bills, increase our independence from the grid, and reduce carbon emissions. Solar Together offers residents in Devon a straightforward way to get a competitive deal on a quality installation from a trusted provider.”

How does it work?

  • Householders can register online to become part of the group for free and without obligation before 6 Oct.
  • Pre-vetted UK solar PV and battery storage suppliers participate in an auction on 6 October. They are able to offer compelling pricing as the volume and geographic concentration will make it possible for them to realise greater efficiencies, which they pass on with lower prices for installations.
  • After the auction, from 26 October registered households will receive a personal recommendation, which is specific to the details they submitted in their registration.
  • If they choose to accept their recommendation, the specifics of their installation will be confirmed with a technical survey after which a date can be set for the installation of their solar PV system.
  • Telephone and email helpdesks are on-hand throughout the whole process and information sessions will allow households to make an informed decision in a safe and hassle-free environment.

Proven concept

In 2012 Dutch councils, in collaboration with iChoosr, initiated their collective purchase schemes for solar PV systems. These schemes provide households with an attractive and hassle free way to acquire a high quality solar PV system.

iChoosr's collective schemes have been embraced by local authorities in the UK, The Netherlands and Belgium. A total of over 25 schemes led to the deployment of 50,000 systems - a total of 175 MW of power.

In the UK to date Solar Together schemes have run in London, Greater Manchester, Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk, with over 9MW of solar PV installed.