Property business Gentoo is helping hundreds of their Wearside tenants go green by having solar panels fitted to their homes.
Gentoo has signed a multimillion pound contract, which sees social enterprise company Empower Community acquiring the solar panels that are currently on 2,327 Wearside homes and six corporate dwellings.
Tenants will still be able to power their homes for free with the electricity the panels generate. A portion of the money generated through the government-ran Feed-In Tariff scheme, which sees unused electricity being sold back to the National Grid, will now go to Empower rather than Gentoo. This money will be used to repay the loan used to fund the deal, as well as investing in local community projects.
Gentoo will also receive a seven-figure sum, which will be used to supply up to 3,000 more homes with photovoltaic (PV) installations.
Speaking of the deal, Empower’s Alex Grayson commented: “The beauty of this deal is that everybody’s interests are aligned: the investor makes solid financial returns, with measurable social and environmental impact; tenants enjoy access to free daytime power, which helps them escape fuel poverty; Gentoo enjoys an ongoing return and financing to continue their exciting developments; and the community receives funding for local initiatives from the profits.”
Building on Grayson’s remarks, Gentoo’s chief executive Peter Walls added: “We’re always looking for new ways to make a positive difference and influence change — this innovative deal with Empower Community does just that.
“[It] is a unique way to deliver more solar solutions to our customers, at no cost, with the additional benefits that the local community fund will bring.”
Existing Gentoo customers are reassured that the deal will not affect the electricity generated or maintenance of their panels.
And there seems to be plenty of happy customers. Victor and Joyce Cowie, who recently had PV panels fitted to their home in Washington, commented: “We are delighted with the work that has been done.”