News - 19 November 2014

J Tomlinson lands ground-breaking solar power role

Construction, maintenance and energy efficiency expert J Tomlinson has been appointed as part of a pioneering community solar investment project.

Chase Community Solar, a community benefit society in Staffordshire, is believed to be the first scheme in the UK aiming to put solar panels on the roofs of council houses funded by a community share offer.

The project aims to raise at least £400,000 to install solar panels on up to 400 council-owned bungalows in Cannock Chase, Staffordshire.

Energy efficiency experts at J Tomlinson have been selected to fit the panels, which are designed to help council tenants cut their energy bills through free electricity generated by the solar photovoltaic panels.

The integrated building solutions company, which is based in Beeston, Nottingham and has a network of regional offices including a presence in Burton-on-Trent, has considerable expertise in the field of PV panels, having fitted more than 40,000 panels over the past four years on a range of buildings including schools, offices, social housing, sheltered housing and private homes.  

Chief executive of J Tomlinson, Mark Davis, said: “Cannock Chase is the second most deprived area in Staffordshire after Stoke-on-Trent, with high levels of fuel poverty. Council tenants benefiting from the solar panels can expect to save up to £250 a year on their energy bills.

“As a company that offers energy efficient solutions as well as energy generation technologies, J Tomlinson is very pleased to be a part of the team involved in this pioneering community solar investment project, which is the first of its kind in the country.”

The firm currently works in the area for Stafford Borough Council and housing associations Midland Heart, Trent & Dove Housing, Bromford Housing and Accord Housing Association on servicing, maintenance and repair contracts.

The company has previously installed photovoltaic panels for Trent & Dove Housing on their head office in Burton-on-Trent, and is involved in gas servicing, maintenance and repairs for the group.

Investors in Chase Community Solar, which is supported by Cannock Chase Council, are being offered a forecast annual return of 7% for the 20-year lifetime of the scheme, with a minimum investment of just £100. Tax relief of 30% under the Enterprise Investment Scheme is also expected to be available. Returns are generated by the government’s Feed-in Tariff subsidy, and any excess funds will be used to build up a local community benefit fund.

Mike Kinghan, chair of Chase Community Solar, said: “We believe this is the first community energy project in the UK focusing on council house tenants. If it’s successful it will blaze the way for further community energy projects with councils and other social housing providers. There are many more social housing roofs across the UK and there is no reason why every suitable roof should not host solar PV.”

The next launch night for the scheme takes place in Lichfield on Tuesday November 25th in the Lichfield Room, Wade Street Church (Frog Lane entrance), WS13 6HL, at 7.30pm.

J Tomlinson, which is a privately owned company founded in the 1950s, has a substantial heritage and wealth of experience in delivering integrated building solutions tailored to both public and private sector clients.

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