Choice Housing have around 380 Solar PV systems across Northern Ireland which collectively generate over 500,000kWh of renewable electricity each year. Our portfolio ranges from much larger PV systems installed on apartment blocks or sheltered housing schemes, to individual domestic PV systems, where the electricity is used directly by tenants in their homes.
Many of our solar PV systems have been installed within new homes over the last decade, either to meet or exceed building regulations, which includes our zero carbon development at Killynure Green. Within individual homes our tenants are able to use as much of the renewable electricity which is generated as possible, with any remaining electricity exported to the national grid. We estimate that our individual homes may collectively save close to £30,000 each year as a result of our investment in these systems.
Choice also retrofitted communal PV systems at 14 of our sheltered housing schemes around 2014/15, at a cost of around £250,000. Electricity from these systems replaces some of the communal electricity purchased from the national grid, which has led to a saving for our tenants of almost £30,000 over the last five years through service charges.
Our portfolio also has a positive impact on the environment, as our renewable electricity replaces some of the electricity which would otherwise have to be delivered from the national grid, with any excess electricity exported and able to be used by other homes and businesses. We estimate that our solar PV portfolio may save over 150 tonnes of CO2 each year.
Each year our energy team manages our solar PV portfolio in order to deliver the best possible outcome. This includes visiting homes to check systems are performing, and more recently requesting information from our tenants due to covid-19 restrictions.
We would also encourage our tenants to make the most of their solar PV systems, with further information available to download from our website at http://www.choice-housing.org/energy
Financial support for renewable technologies has been removed in recent years, which makes ongoing investment in solar PV systems much more challenging. Choice continue to invest £millions in our existing housing stock every year, to include energy efficiency measures, lighting improvements and heating upgrades, and we continue to review the area of renewable technologies to look for future opportunities for investment.