THURSDAY 10 JUL 2014 10:28 AM


Up to 8,000 community buildings will receive solar installations as part of a £60m partnership between British Gas, Social Finance and Gen Community.

It is estimated that 2.28m households in the UK spend more than 10% of their income on maintaining an adequate heating regime. By installing solar panels, British Gas has predicted that households in the UK could save up to £1,000 a year in energy costs. Increasing the amount of houses that use solar energy could therefore greatly alleviate the rising UK fuel poverty levels.

The new £60m partnership between British Gas, Social Finance and Gen Community will try to target rising levels of fuel poverty in the UK through accelerating the installation of solar panels on social houses, schools, councils, and other community buildings.

There has been a government-led push recently to encourage energy savings by insulating homes, installing solar panels or otherwise making energy use more efficient. Organisations like Energy UK have jumped on board and provided resources for homeowners to increase efficiency. British Gas also puts energy efficiency and affordability at the heart of its CSR strategy.

The British Gas partnership is expected to help alleviate fuel poverty, by enabling households to save up to 40% on electricity bills. Communities will also be able to buy shares in the projects, enabling them to benefit from a financial return.

Mike Chessum, head of energy construction services at British Gas, comments, "Our partnership with Gen Community signals a breakthrough in the delivery of community energy across the UK. We are proud to be the first commercial energy partner working alongside social enterprises that will provide new ways of delivering power to communities.”

Social Finance will raise the £60bn cash for this project, British Gas Solar will be the contractor for the installations, and Gen Community will oversee the projects and liaising with local authorities.