Your Energy Sussex is committed to helping households, particularly those on low incomes, to save money on their energy bills. In Crawley, the partnership worked with social housing tenants, many of whom are on low-incomes and juggling tight household budgets, to fund and fit roof-mounted solar PV systems.
Surveys were carried out on several hundred Crawley Borough Council homes to find the most suitable. Tenants were keen to take advantage of the offer because they would get free electricity during the day from the solar panels and an average annual bill saving of around £120. Under the scheme, the income from feed-in-tariffs is used by Your Energy Sussex to pay back the cost of the project.
The partnership installed 225 systems between November and January 2016 and continues to work with Crawley Borough Council to help residents get the most from their solar PV and use as much free electricity as they can.
Since the panels were installed, residents have said that the project has made them much more aware of the household appliances they are using and which ones use the most energy.
Mr Pankaj Sharma of Ifield, said: "The electric shower was the biggest surprise, registering 9kW and turning the monitor lights to red, which means that we are using more electricity than we are generating through the solar panels. We also noticed the usage go up quite a bit when we put the kettle on. Items like the TV or the laptop on the other hand only use about 300W. It was quite surprising really."
Many tenants have made changes to their household routine to save money, such as using the washing machine or dish washer during the day and charging mobile devices when the sun is out.
Since the reduction in solar feed-in-tariffs in January 2016, the partnership is working to establish a new financial model and fund further energy saving and renewable energy work with social landlords, including partner local authorities.