Harnessing the power of the sun to pull families out of fuel poverty

Posted in: Solar Energy

Posted on: 12.01.2016

At Good Energy we know that renewables can transform the UK energy market for the better.

As a Feed-in Tariff (FIT) administrator, we work with over 131 councils and housing associations. Together, we’re proving the huge potential of solar PV to alleviate fuel poverty in some of the country’s poorest households.

Fuel Poverty

Here’s how it works – the council or housing association pays for solar systems to be installed on tenant’s roofs. These families and pensioners save money because they use electricity generated from their own panels. Bills are typically reduced by an average of £157 per year. These savings can literally be the difference between a household being in fuel poverty or not. 

These projects can target households at risk of fuel poverty. For example, elderly tenants are often at home during the day, when PV is generating the most, and can maximise the benefit of free electricity. Chase Community Solar is a great example of this.


As well as reducing their tenants’ electricity bills, the FIT generates an income which can be re-invested back into their communities, for example, additional energy-saving measures for the benefit of all homes.

Case study – Warrington Borough Council

Through its solar PV project, Warrington Borough Council in partnership with Golden Gates Housing Trust, has helped 488 families out of fuel poverty. Overall, it has installed panels on around 2,000 homes, including on sheltered housing for elderly pensioners. Savings per household are around £145 per year. The local area has also benefited through the creation of 20 new jobs and 4 apprenticeships.

To date Good Energy has registered around 45,000 solar PV systems on social housing. The sector is playing an important role in making renewable technology much more widely available. The numbers are big, and so are the benefits.

Our report ‘Reducing fuel poverty: the Role of Solar PV was prepared as part of Good Energy’s response to the government’s FIT consultation. It includes case studies and examples of the benefits that these schemes provide. Everything from job creation, to unlocking innovative finance, improved energy efficiency and carbon reductions. These are the stories of communities, households and families who are being helped out of fuel poverty.

So far so good. It sounds like a great British success story. But with the reduction to FIT, many new schemes like this simply won’t happen. The government says that cuts are necessary to protect hard working families by keeping down their bills. But through this policy action, it’s likely that they’ll achieve precisely the opposite.

Kate Turner

Internal Communications Manager

Read more stories by Kate Turner

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