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Reading Council Solar Panel Initiative For Residents

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Reading Borough Council has launched a solar panel initiative this week, allowing residents to buy solar panels for their property in the cheapest and easiest way possible.

Residents who take up the offer can save on energy bills, cut carbon emissions and boost local renewable energy generation whilst also making savings on installation costs.

It’s free to register and there is no obligation to go ahead with an installation. Last year Reading’s residents were amongst the nearly 900 across Berkshire who took advantage of the offer and had over 9,500 solar panels fitted.

The scheme is there to help Reading’s homeowners feel confident that they are paying the right price for a high-quality installation from pre-approved installers and more information can be found at www.solartogether.co.uk/reading.

The Solar Together scheme helps residents to take advantage of competitive rates on solar panels and battery storage thanks to a group-buying scheme in operation across councils in Berkshire. Reading Borough Council is working in partnership with Bracknell Forest, Wokingham Borough and West Berkshire Councils, along with independent experts iChoosr, to help as many residents as possible make the transition to clean energy.

Reading declared a climate emergency in 2019, and the Council has been working with local organisations to aim for a net zero carbon Reading by 2030. Achievements include:

  • 51% reduction in the borough’s carbon emissions since 2005 – the eighth largest reduction across 374 local authority areas in the UK
  • 74% reduction in the Council’s own carbon emissions in 14 years
  • Target to reduce the Council’s use of fossil fuels by 50% met two years ahead of schedule
  • 68% reduction in emissions from waste since 2015/16, largely due to a reduction of rubbish going to landfill
  • Reading has featured on the Carbon Disclosure Project’s (CDP) global environmental A list, for three successive years, with only 25 other UK councils appearing in 2023.

Measures taken by the Council to reduce its own emissions include the installation of heat pumps and solar panels in its two new leisure centres in Palmer Park and Rivermead, increasing the number of electric vehicles in its fleet and installing solar panels and energy efficient systems in schools.

John Knight, Assistant Director for Housing at Reading Borough Council, said:

“The cost of living and energy crises continue to hit people hard around the country, and we want to do everything we can to ease that burden for Reading’s residents.

The Solar Together scheme offers us a way of giving our residents an option to make the switch to solar power by taking advantage of these group-buying rates. This provides a way forward for people to move towards cheaper and more environmentally-friendly energy consumption in their homes whilst at the same time helping us towards our goal for Reading to be carbon net zero by 2030.

We need everyone to play their part to achieve this – the council, residents, businesses and organisations – and the solar scheme is a great way in for local residents.

“We appreciate that not everyone will be able to invest at this time, but for those households who are fortunate enough to be able to, I would urge them to start the no-obligation process of this initiative and see the longer term benefits it could bring in terms of future savings on energy bills”.

How the Solar Together scheme works:

  • Householders can register online to become part of the group for free and without obligation.
  • Pre-approved UK solar PV suppliers participate in a reverse auction. They are able to offer competitive pricing as the volume and geographic concentration makes it possible for them to realise greater efficiencies, which they pass on with lower prices for installations.
  • After the auction, registered households will be emailed 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 which, together with information sessions, will allow households to make an informed decision in a safe and hassle-free environment.

Residents interested in finding out more about the Solar Together scheme should go to https://www.reading.gov.uk/solartogether/