Solar panels costs start at around £7,000 but the returns (or savings) one may benefit from over the long term are much higher. As per estimates, the cost of installation generally gets covered within 7 years once users start saving on their energy bills and once installed, solar panels generally have a usable life of 20-25 years.

The external benefits of solar panels to the environment cannot be overlooked either. They help in reducing carbon emissions and reduce the need for energy generation through power plants. 

Using solar power, the installed panels absorb energy from the sun during the daytime (even on a cloudy day) and generate power for the rest of the day.

Can Council Houses Have Solar Panels?

Yes, council houses can have solar panels. Not only that, the installation and maintenance of solar panels on council houses is the responsibility of the landlord, therefore there is no additional expense to be borne by the tenant(s). In most cases, local councils have been known to provide solar panels free of cost to tenants with the aim to help them reduce their energy costs while protecting the environment through reduced carbon emissions.

Under the UK Government’s initiative to increase the use of alternate energy sources and reduce carbon emissions a Solar power deal was placed in 2017 to have solar panels installed in 800,000 council homes by 2022. The panels have double benefits for council housing tenants as they are not required to bear any expense for the installation and maintenance of solar panels; while they will be able to save hundreds of pounds in energy bills.

However, not every council property will qualify for the installation of solar panels. The strength of the roof structure, its shape and accessibility for installation play a key role in being able to instal these panels. Therefore, the final decision is based upon the instalment company’s assessment of the building where the installation is to take place. 

The assessor’s initial survey may include a check on the following areas:

  • Whether there is sufficient capacity available within the local electricity grid
  • How well is the property orientation to install the panels
  • What are the dimensions and scale of roof size
  • Is the roof slope and area suitable for panel mounting
  • What will be the routes to manage cabling and metering (inside the house)

As a council housing tenant, you might be required to provide access to the pathway leading to where the installation is to take place and perhaps access to your loft. Other than that, you will not be required to be physically present during the installation process; which is usually three hours long.

However, once the installation is complete it would be in your personal interest to learn about the specifics of solar panels from the installation company and the amount of reduction to expect in your energy bill.

To learn more about the modifications that tenants can make to their council houses or the rights of council house tenants, we will try to answer the following questions through this article:

  • Can Council Houses Be Decorated By The Tenant?
  • Can I Use My Own Furniture In A Council House?
  • Can Council Provide Carpets To Tenants?
  • Can Home Improvements Be Done In Council House?
  • Who Pays For Home Improvement In Council Houses?

Can Council Houses Be Decorated By The Tenant?

Yes, not only can you decorate the council house that you live in, in some cases the council provides you with a voucher when you move into a council house to purchase items for home decor. You may be able to use this voucher for specific items only. However, with certain items paid for, you can allocate your own finances to other areas of home furnishing.

However, the permission to decorate council houses and the extent of the work carried out in this regard depends a lot on the type of tenancy agreement that you have in place. For instance, introductory tenants may only be allowed to conduct minor repairs inside their house, while fixed-term tenants may not be allowed to make any changes to the council house. Secure tenants on the other hand can carry out interior and exterior decor as well as home improvement tasks such as installing new bathrooms or a fireplace or even building of an extension or greenhouse. 

Find your local council to learn more about the specific guidelines that apply to your district.

Can I Use My Own Furniture In A Council House?

Yes, you can use your own furniture in a council house but sometimes the council can also help tenants with furniture by giving vouchers to purchase furniture through certain schemes or charities. Sometimes this furniture is available at extremely low-cost; while at other times, charities may pay for them while residents claim to use it. 

This means that while councils may not directly pay for the furniture that a council house resident requires, they can connect them to charities who can either offer the pay for the furniture while the resident pays them back in instalments or sometimes they may simply make the payment on behalf of the resident(s) who is not expected to make any payment at all. 

Some social housing providers provide council homes that are furnished. In the case of any changes or repairs needed for the furniture, they are also willing to offer to repair or replace the items without any additional cost to the tenants. However, the furniture may be preloved and not brand new.

Can Council Provide Carpets To Tenants?

No, councils do not help with the provision of carpets for residents of council houses. However, if you inform your local authorities that you need carpets for your council house, they will be able to connect you to certain charities to help you find grants for furniture and carpets, while some of them may offer preloved items including carpets at reasonable prices.

However, local councils may also help you in providing hot meals and other household equipment such as a cooker. This is called a “welfare scheme”. Since each council runs their own welfare scheme you may need to connect with your own council office to learn specific details of it applies in your area Find your local council It is not necessary that you need to claim benefits to qualify for a welfare assistance scheme.

Can Home Improvements Be Done In Council House?

In case of home improvements to be carried out in a council house, you may have to seek permission from the council authorities prior to work commencing on the property. The expense of most of the following may be reimbursed by the council:

  • Toilet, bath, shower, wash-basin
  • Kitchen sink and work surfaces 
  • Storage cupboards 
  • Heating equipment 
  • Radiator valves
  • Insulation
  • Draught-proofing 
  • Double glazing or other window replacement
  • Rewiring, fixing of electrical fittings (including smoke detectors)

Who Pays For Home Improvement In Council Houses?

In some cases, certain home improvement tasks need to be carried out prior to home decor. These may include rewiring, extensive re-plastering or fitting central heating systems. You should make sure that there is a thorough assessment of the kind of home improvements that are required so that such work is complete before you start decorating your council house.

In most cases, your council or social housing landlord will bear the expense of major home improvements. However, tenants are expected to pay for basic essentials such as fixing a curtain rail or putting up a shower curtain in the bathroom.

Conclusion:

The installation of solar panels benefits not only the users through reduced energy bills but also protects the environment through reduced carbon emissions. Even though the initial cost of installation may start from £7,000, users have been known to note drastic changes in their energy bills by using solar panels, saving hundreds of pounds annually.

Council Housing tenants need not apply individually for solar panel installation. Under the UK Government’s directive, local councils have been providing solar panels to council houses for a few years now and will continue to do so; depending upon how suitable the council housing property is for installation of solar panels.

FAQs: Can Council Houses Have Solar Panels?

How do council solar panels work?

Council provided solar panels work in the same way that any other solar panels do. The panels are installed on the rooftop while the switch is placed inside the building with cabling and wiring work done by the installation company. During daylight hours, the panels absorb heat energy from the sun and convert it to electricity at night.

Is it expensive to install solar panels?

Solar panels may cost anywhere between £7,000 to £25,000 as an initial cost; however, the gains one acquires through saving energy and reduced energy bills has a far-reaching effect in the long term. Tenants will find an immediate drop in their energy bills by hundreds of pounds as they switch to solar energy. 

How can I tell if my house is suitable for solar panels?

The strength of the roof structure, its shape and accessibility for installation play a key role in being able to instal these panels. Additionally, there will be a check on the capacity available within the local electricity grid, property orientation, dimensions and scale of roof size, slope and roof area suitability for panel mounting as well as the routes to manage cabling and metering inside the house.

Can any house have solar panels?

Houses located in listed buildings and conservation areas are not permitted to have solar panels. On the other hand, the strength of the roof structure, its shape and accessibility for installation play a key role in being able to instal solar panels. Additionally, there will be a check on the capacity available within the local electricity grid, property orientation, dimensions and scale of roof size, slope and roof area suitability for panel mounting as well as the routes to manage cabling and metering inside the house.

Can I get solar panels for free in the UK?

While companies used to provide free solar panels in the past, due to the affordability of the panels, this offer is no longer valid in the UK.

References:

Hundreds of council homes could switch to solar power

Solar Panels For Council Houses 2021 | The Eco Experts

Right To Buy and Solar Panels (3rd Party Leases) Q & A’s – Colchester Borough Homes

Solar panels

Could I make extra money from my tenants by installing solar panels?

Solar power deal will lower social tenants’ energy bills – BBC News

Repairs and maintenance in your council house

Get help with decorating your council home

Decorating your council house

Carrying out improvements and alterations to your council home | Ipswich Borough Council

Decorating and improvements to your council home – Epping Forest District Council

John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.

John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.