COUNCIL tenants across Darlington are being invited to switch on to the benefits of solar power as part of a limited, free installation scheme.

Darlington Borough Council has joined forces with two solar installation experts – Global Heat Source and Saving Energy Renewables North East – to deliver the programme, which aims to install solar panels on around 1,000 council properties by the end of the year.

The scheme will focus on council homes within the borough that have been identified as potentially suitable, such as those with an appropriately sized roof, facing in the right direction and with no shading issues.

Letters will be sent to the tenants of these properties in the next few weeks inviting them to sign up to the scheme.

Any tenants interested are urged to call the Freephone number provided in the letter as soon as possible, as this is a time limited opportunity and the last installations need to be completed before Christmas.

If tenants respond to express an interest an appointment will be arranged with the council’s sub-contractors to complete a detailed survey of the property to ensure it is suitable for a Solar PV system. If approved the solar panels will be installed, and the system fully maintained, at no cost to the tenant or the council.

Councillor Veronica Copeland, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “A consultation is currently ongoing on whether the payments are to be cut or the scheme closed altogether, so we do have a limited time in which to take advantage of this initiative.

“Our partner companies have identified the properties most likely to be suitable and letters will be going out to those tenants in the next few weeks to outline the scheme.

"The tenants will be invited to register their interest and arrange a full survey.

“Ideally, installation work will start on the first properties in early November and we could see solar panels installed in around 1,000 homes by the end of the year.

“Obviously, not all properties will be suitable and tenants do not have to take part, but for those who are interested it could lead to savings of up to £200 a year on their electricity bill. It will also help us help the environment by cutting our carbon emissions. So it’s a win-win situation for all.”

For more information about the scheme, call 01325-405333 or visit