A new model
St Vincent’s Housing Association (SVHA) has installed photovoltaic panels on 400 homes by taking advantage of a renewable energy specialist’s “no cost” system.
The social landlord has used the Strategic Energy model developed by professional services firm Ernst & Young, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) and some of the UK’s leading law firms to make the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) viable at the 16.8p rate.
Strategic Energy is a pure equity model with two principal backers – an institutional investor and clean technology specialist Hazel Capital – so no returns from the FiT will be used to pay the cost of debt.
According to SVHA, the no cost solar photovoltaic package retains “significant” rates of return for private equity investors, with Strategy Energy covering landlords’ outlay of legal costs through associations with law firms such as Trowers & Hamlins, Addleshaw Goddard, Cobbetts, Croftons and
There is a full suite of legal documents specifically drawn up for the FiT programme, ensuring landlords have the quick access that can speed up installations on site. All of the documents are CML compliant and approved by Santander, Barclays, HBOS and Dexia.
So far, SVHA’s solar panel scheme has reduced CO2 emissions by 343 tonnes per year while creating ten sustainable jobs in the community.
Strategic Energy director Martin Davidson believes the partnership with SVHA shows there is “no reason for landlords to stop their PV schemes”.
“Housing providers have a window from the 12 December until 31 March where they will still receive the 21p per kWh rate but even when it drops to 16.8p from 1 April, there is still a very good financial return for investors using our system,” he added.
“Our legal framework, which is approved by the Council of Mortgage Lenders and various banks, removes a huge barrier to the FiT market. It means we can save landlords significant sums of money and get on site far quicker than anyone else.
SVHA chief executive Peter Smith said: “Crucially, Strategic Energy’s system allows us to help tenants save up to £250 a year in fuel bills, so choosing them was an easy decision to make because we have to remember the fundamental purpose of social housing: it is to help tenants most in need.
“On top of this, it allows us drastically reduce our CO2 footprint and create ten sustainable jobs in our local communities, so it is quite clear from a landlords’ perspective there are still many key benefits from the FiT programme.”