Greater Manchester Low Carbon Hub. Delivering Greater Manchester's transition to a low-carbon economy

Ashton charity 2nd Generation Furnishings is now powered by the sun thanks to a generous donation

New Charter Housing lands largest-ever UK solar install

The UK’s biggest solar panel installation for a housing association – and the first licence deal - has hit the landmark of 1,000 homes now getting electricity from the sun.

The installation is an international deal worth more than £18 million between the world’s biggest solar cell producer Taiwanese-owned GES and housing association New Charter Housing Trust Group in Tameside, Greater Manchester.

The deal is the first solar licensing agreement meaning New Charter Housing Trust retains control over the roofs unlike lease deals where control is assumed by the panel owner. It will help save tenants around £40 million in reduced electricity bills and save nearly 133,500 tonnes of carbon over the next 25 years.

GES wanted to mark the landmark installation of panels to 1,000 homes by donating and fitting panels on 2nd Generation Furnishings in Stalybridge. The panels, fitted by Sustain Energy Solutions, will significantly cut the charity’s electricity bills.

2nd Generation Furnishings is supported by New Charter Housing Trust which owns the green charity’s Stalybridge building. The charity recycles furniture to sell at a low cost to people unable to furnish their homes.

A delegation from Taiwan flew in to perform the official handover of the panels to the charity at its shop in Stalybridge. The event was attended by GES chairman Dr Quincy Lin, New Charter Chief Executive Ian Munro, Tameside Council Leader Kieran Quinn and Tameside Mayor Dawson Lane.

The deal has attracted widespread media interest in Taiwan. Two TV news film crews and two newspapers reporters travelled with the GES team to report on the handover and the work being done as part of the installation on up to 4,500 homes.

“There may be almost 10,000 miles between our two countries but there is a shared goal to cut carbon emissions and improve the planet’s environment"

“There may be almost 10,000 miles between our two countries but there is a shared goal to cut carbon emissions and improve the planet’s environment," said Ian Munro, Chief Executive of New Charter Group. “This initiative is also helping to tackle fuel poverty for our tenants who have suffered due to rising energy costs. Tenants living in homes with the solar panels will see their bills drop by between £200 and £400 a year.

”Supporting 2nd Generation Furnishings is a fantastic way to mark the installation of solar panels to 1,000 homes. GES firmly believes in giving something back to the communities they work in and this is an extremely kind gesture.”

Local community benefit was a selling point for Dr Quincy Lin, the GES chairman, who said at the launch: “This solar panel project is the first we have done in the UK and is an extremely significant deal for GES. The deal basically involves using roof space for solar panels under a licence agreement with New Charter. This allows New Charter to retain control over the roof and their tenants benefit from reduced bills through the energy produced by the panels on their homes.”

“We believe in supporting local communities and this is something we do in our home country.  The 2nd Generation Furnishings project will clearly benefit from reduced electricity bills which will allow them to do even more good work.”

Local Hyde resident Tammy Williams has heaped praise on the new solar panels installed at her home on Kirkstone Road.

Local Hyde resident Tammy Williams has heaped praise on the new solar panels installed at her home on Kirkstone Road. Engineers fitted the panels in four hours and Tammy was able to start benefiting from reduced bills straightaway.

“The installers were fantastic - quick, polite, and super efficient," she said. "I can’t believe how little time it took and how little disruption there was. The panels actually look really attractive and have even added a bit of character to the estate. They’ve gone down very well with everyone who lives here - they haven’t cost anyone a penny yet we are all saving money on our fuel bills.”

Visit the main Platform site