Residents who were forced to have solar panels fitted to their homes under a green scheme are now being charged £1,000 more for heating.
The householders were given a £38,000 taxpayer-funded grant and were told the panels would generate spare electricity that they could sell back to the National Grid. They would be saving hundreds of pounds on their energy bills and helping the environment, they were told.
But the panels were incorrectly installed and, as a result, some people have seen their bills rise by up to 220 per cent. Sixty residents have signed a petition stating that many have been pushed into fuel poverty. Experts blame ‘inherent design issues’ for the problems, including panels fitted on the wrong sides of houses.
A total of 175 householders in Longtown, Cumbria, received the new system from Warmer Energy Services, financed by Riverside Housing Association.
The £38,000 grant came from a government-backed scheme called Cert (Carbon Emissions Reduction Target). One man has now turned off his boiler altogether. James Rob, 42, a window cleaner, who lives in a two-bedroom flat, used to pay £25 a week for heating.
He said: ‘Any saving would have been fine, but now I’m paying £80 a week. I can’t afford it so I only heat one room with an electric heater.
‘The boiler is far too powerful, it is a 9kw boiler, enough to heat the Royal Albert Hall. It costs £1.24 an hour to heat.
‘To rectify the problem and have a working system installed could cost £4,700.’
Seems to me the UK is too far north for solar power.