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From the blog

Empty roofs offer great potential


Claire Higgins, Chief Executive of Cross Keys Homes, explains how empty roofs in Peterborough enable the use of free solar panels, providing free electricity.

Taking advantage of empty, unused roof space, available funding and looking at things in a slightly different way has meant Cross Keys Homes has been able to provide tenants in Peterborough with plentiful free electricity thanks to our solar panel initiative – and that’s not the only benefit.

With rising fuel prices and more people getting worried about how their energy is produced, this scheme offers a great solution… and all at no cost to us or our tenants.

It was estimated in 2014, 2.5 million households in England were in fuel poverty and that was broadly unchanged from the previous year (Fuel Poverty Annual Report 2015). This scheme aims to change this.

By enabling 4,700 households in Peterborough – we expect over 6,000 by the time the solar panel scheme is finished – we are also generating £16.5million of capital investment and over 50 local jobs.

CO2 emissions are causing concern for many and with this scheme we have helped to extract 13Mw of energy – just over 9,400 tonnes of CO2 each year from the running costs of our housing stock. It has been said that this is more of a saving than some large solar farms in the country!

But that’s not all we’re doing. We’ve trained our front-line staff in how to identify and support tenants who have been struggling with funding high fuel costs and recently delivered a campaign to tackle fuel poverty, helping many residents switch suppliers and save money. We’ve also ensured all Cross Keys Homes’ departments are working together to create a joined-up approach in supporting our tenants through these changes.

To say I’m really proud of our team’s hard work with this initiative would be an understatement. We knew it was going to be an important project when we started, but the difference it has made has been remarkable and I think the figures speak for themselves.

This approach has helped to provide the right solution for us, our tenants and the city of Peterborough: we want our residents to have the best possible quality of life and for this we need a city which has a thriving local economy, strong communities and a sustainable way of life, which as a locally focused social enterprise is what Cross Keys Homes is always aspiring to do.