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Leeds City Council uses Green Homes Grant cash for free solar panels

Jordan O'Brien

Jordan O'Brien

Contributing Editor
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Leeds launches Green Homes Grant Scheme

When the UK Government cancelled the Green Homes Grant scheme, it announced that it would distribute some of the remaining cash to local authorities. Now those local authorities are starting to launch their own schemes, with Leeds City Council offering free solar panels to some residents. 

Leeds City Council has secured £5.6 million from the Government’s Green homes Grant Local Authority Delivery Scheme, with the local authority offering a technology that was previously not available under the central Government’s scheme – solar panels. 

Eligible residents in Leeds will have the option to install solar panels completely free of charge, although cavity wall insulation and external wall insulation is also on the menu for those wanting green home upgrades. 

Unlike the hundreds of thousands of houses that could have benefited from the Green Homes Grant scheme, Leeds City Council says that its funds will only cover around 685 of the city’s coldest and most energy inefficient homes. 

How do residents qualify for the scheme? 

To qualify for the scheme, households must have an income of less than £30,000 per year (or receive certain benefits) and own or have mortgaged a home with an EPC rating of D, E, F or G. However, homeowners don’t need to know their property’s EPC rating to sign up as this will be confirmed with a quick survey on the property.

Private tenants living in qualifying properties can also apply for the scheme if they have an income of less than £30,000 per year and have the permission of their landlord. Landlords of rental properties will be expected to contribute a third of the total costs of the work but will benefit from a grant of up to £5,000 to cover the remaining costs.

Those opting to install solar panels could save up to £156 per year in electricity costs, according to Leeds City Council, while also reducing their carbon footprint. 

Councillor Debra Coupar, Deputy Leader at Leeds City Council, commented, “We know that unfortunately too many people suffer from fuel poverty in Leeds and it’s work like this that will help cut those costs and make a real positive impact to people’s lives. By upgrading hundreds of the city’s coldest and least efficient homes, we can transform the lives of hundreds of families by giving them a warmer, healthier and cheaper home and reduce the city’s carbon footprint at the same time.

“I am delighted to see our existing work being recognised nationally at this year’s Northern Housing Awards and this scheme demonstrates the council’s ongoing commitment to delivering a just transition in becoming a net zero city.

“I would strongly encourage homeowners to check whether they qualify for this fantastic scheme and apply if they might be eligible.”

Stephen Batty, Head of Sustainability at Better Homes Yorkshire, which will help develop the scheme, said, “Existing housing in the UK currently contributes around 27% of total carbon emissions and, with 80% of the houses that will still be around in 2050 already built, it’s vital we look at innovative and practical solutions if we are to achieve the Government’s zero carbon ambitions. This offer is a great opportunity for people in Leeds to make their homes warmer and cheaper to heat, and I’d urge anyone who is eligible to take advantage.”

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