Monday, 8 August 2011

Sun shines on Hastings

Enjoying the sunshine with the Mayor at the Garden of Family
Delights in St Leonards Gardens
We all know Hastings is the sunniest place in the country and we have all been enjoying it this Summer. But surely we have the chance to make more of it than just sun-bathing. Can’t we think about making Hastings a solar-powered town?

There are now a number of companies offering deals for those who would like to purchase solar panels for their homes. This is both to generate electricity for their own use, and to take advantage of the government’s feed in tariff and get paid for the extra electricity they can sell on to the national grid. If you can afford it, and you check out that the offer does make the best economic sense, then go for it.

Some companies also offer to basically lease a resident’s roof for 25 years and to install free solar panels for them. This gives the resident free electricity during daylight hours and can save hundreds of pounds a year, especially with prices going up. Again I would advise residents to check the details of what is being offered and be sure it is a good deal.

I have spoken with a local firm who plan to install 4,000 free panels by next Spring – a number of those could well be in Hastings. And Amicus Housing Association is already contacting its own tenants as it has signed a deal with another company to put up free panels.

The different companies seem to be offering very similar deals – they can arrange to help you purchase and install panels or they will arrange the free installation, leasing model which includes them taking responsibility for maintenance of the panels.

You would need to do the research, to shop around to find the best deal for your particular circumstances and take legal advice on any agreement or leasing arrangement you are asked to enter into.

Not every property is suitable. Ideally they have to be south facing to maximise the benefit of sunlight and probably they should be no more than two storeys high. Properties in conservation areas can be a challenge too. But all this does seem to offer a boost to tackling climate change and to tackling fuel poverty at the same time.

There are some useful websites to check out some of this – the Energy Saving Trust is good: And our information centre at the Town Hall is stocking information leaflets and contact details for companies that are involved.