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Aragon Housing Association has successfully completed its £3.5million solar PV installation programme, despite the Government’s shift in deadline.
The award-winning Bedfordshire based social housing provider was forced to speed up its programme last month when the Government brought forward the date after which the feed-in tariff (FiT) would be radically reduced.
Bob Hopkins, Assistant Director of Property Services, said: “We have pulled out all the stops to complete our programme by the deadline and have been very grateful to our partnering contractors BSG, Rule and Parker and SDC and our staff who have worked all hours to make sure as many tenants as possible would get the benefit of the solar panels.”
While many other housing associations cancelled their PV programmes, Aragon took the decision to plough resources into its plan and completed 347 installations by the December 12 deadline.
Initially it had planned to complete its programme by the end of March. When the Government announced on October 20 that for installations commissioned after December 12 the FiT would be cut to only 21.5p per Kwh from 43.3p per Kwh, Aragon only had 61 properties fully installed.
Bob Hopkins added: “Since then we have averaged 41 installations every week to make sure we hit the deadline. It has been a remarkable achievement.
“The Government’s decision has caused huge upheaval in the industry and moving forward it must consider allowing social housing providers to benefit from the Green Deal if it is serious about ensuring a reduction in the country’s carbon footprint.
“We will be continuing to lobby the Government to allow housing associations to participate fully in the Green Deal. We also need them to think again about further tariff reductions for housing associations which would make future PV installations non-viable.
“This is particularly important if we are to be able to target our hard to heat housing stock by fitting PV in conjunction with other green technologies such as air source heat pumps. “
Aragon is one of relatively few housing associations who have pursued their PV programme and has accepted the prolonged payback period on its investment in a bid to offer tenants much needed savings on electricity bills.