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Solar Water Heating Project a Success

Residents of Central Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site are ‘getting into hot water’ with the help of the ScottishPower Energy People Trust and Lister Housing Co-operative.

The ScottishPower Energy People Trust donated £90,000 to the housing co-operative towards the cost of installing solar water heating renewable energy systems for it’s tenants.  The funding provided Lister’s low income tenants with hot water at a reduced cost, helping to alleviate them from fuel poverty.

The Lister Housing Co-operative provides affordable housing for a range of vulnerable individuals who are on low incomes and suffer from fuel poverty.  The housing organisation planned and implemented the renewable fuel initiative.  Work on the project, which installed solar water heating to 49 households, started in February 2009 and is now fully complete allowing tenants to save on their fuel bills.

Solar panels on the roofs provide energy to heat the water and are completely hidden from street view which ensured the aesthetics of the World Heritage Site were not disturbed in any way.

The project won the Energy Action Scotland Energy Savers Award 2009 for its good work and guidance and is also establishing itself as a Best Practice guide for similar projects in the future. The best practice guide was written by project partner and Edinburgh-based sustainable development charity, Changeworks.  

Ann Loughrey, ScottishPower’s Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and the ScottishPower Energy People Trust’s Company Secretary, said: “ScottishPower Energy People Trust is delighted to have helped in such a worthwhile and interesting initiative. The project has helped a great deal in tackling fuel poverty by generating renewable energy to benefit those in need. 

“Lister Housing Co-operative has completed an excellent job with the solar water heating panels and has shown that our funding can be used in innovative ways – even to help install solar powered energy in hard-to-treat historic Listed Georgian tenements!”

Alistair Cant, Director of Lister Housing Cooperative, said: “We were thrilled that ScottishPower Energy People Trust donated such a substantial amount of money to our project.  This funding helped us immensely and without the generosity of the Trust the project would not be started, let alone complete.

“Already we have seen a number of tenants achieving over 1000 kWh output from their solar panels. One tenant has been in to see us with a gas bill showing a reduction of 51% compared to the same period in the previous year. As she had not had her heating on much if at all in that period, she attributes the difference to the solar panels.”

For more information on the ScottishPower Energy People Trust, log on to www.energypeopletrust.com

Thursday, June 03, 2010