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Tue June 15 2021

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Forrest claims to have solar finance solution

24 Apr 12 Social housing contractor Forrest has teamed up with renewable energy specialist Dimplex Renewables to launch a self-funded solar power installation model for the social housing sector.

Forrest chief executive Lee McCarren
Forrest chief executive Lee McCarren

Forrest says that its Renewable Energy Finance scheme enables landlords to install photovoltaic (PV) technology without any capital investment.

Under the model, the government’s now reduced feed-in tariff (FIT) payment scheme covers installation costs via a finance solution for up to a 15 year period.

Residents can access free day-time electricity immediately after installation and Forrest says that the programme is cost neutral from the first year.

The contractor last year launched its own environmental services division Forrest Green that is now spearheading the programme. It claims to have made its model “future proof” against any future changes to the government’s timetable to reduce FIT payments.

Forrest Green has already secured several PV projects, including a 3,000 home project for Wrexham Council, said to be the largest social housing solar PV scheme in Europe.

A number of other housing groups had shelved plans for similar initiatives in light of the government’s decision to bring forward its timetable to cut FIT fees from April this year. Forrest Green says that it is already in discussion with a number of social landlords about resurrecting large-scale projects that had all but been abandoned following the FIT cut.

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Forrest chief executive Lee McCarren said: “Our role is much more than that of a contractor. We are a partner to social landlords with the ability to advise them on any aspect of their property infrastructure, and develop solutions for their problems.

“The government’s decision to cut FIT ahead of schedule meant that many landlords have had to re-appraise their aspirations of tackling fuel poverty and cutting carbon through solar power.

“What we’ve achieved through our partnership with Dimplex is a new form of financing specifically tailored to the social housing market which will allow it to flick the switch on green power without a single penny of expenditure.

“This isn’t a model which can be applied in any industry. With significant property portfolios and long-term visibility over their assets, housing associations are perfectly placed to capitalise on innovative forms of financing that still stack up despite the significant cut in FIT income.

“There has been a lot of hot air about the death of solar PV but with the right approach this energy revolution can still transform thousands of homes across the UK.”

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