Residents invited to register for affordable renewable energy offer

Residents in Buckinghamshire can take advantage of a group-buying scheme to purchase items such as solar panels, battery storage and electric vehicle charging points helping to save on their energy costs and cut carbon emissions.

Buckinghamshire Council has joined the Solar Together initiative, run by iChoosr, as part of its commitment to tackling climate change and supporting local people to access affordable ways to reduce their carbon footprint.

The Solar Together scheme operates in a similar way to the popular collective energy switching schemes. It enables groups of residents to come to together to invest in renewable sources of energy such as solar panels and battery storage, through an innovative group-buying scheme. Buying in this way allows householders to benefit from more competitive rates and ensures high-quality installation from pre-approved installers.

The scheme has been running for four years across the UK. More than 7,000 installations have been carried out, saving an estimated 130,000+ tonnes of lifetime carbon emissions.

From this week, the scheme is open to Buckinghamshire residents. In addition to buying solar panels with optional battery storage and EV charge points, residents who have already invested in solar panels can also retrofit battery storage, allowing them to get more from the renewable energy they generate and increase their independence from the National Grid.

Interested householders can register for free online from Monday 9 May to become part of the local group, with no obligation. Pre-approved UK solar PV suppliers will participate in an auction on 14 June. Suppliers are able to offer competitive pricing according to the volume of potential customers in the local area, so they are able to reduce their costs which they pass on to the customers through lower pricing for materials and installations. After the auction, registered households will be emailed a personal recommendation specific to the details they submitted in their application. If they choose to accept the recommendation, a technical survey will be arranged, and a date set for the installation of their new system.

Peter Strachan, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment said: “We are delighted that Bucks residents can now benefit from this national scheme that makes switching to renewable energy sources so much more affordable.

"We know that many people are keen to explore the option, but they can be put off by the initial costs of purchase and installation. The beauty of this scheme is that the more people who register an interest, the cheaper the costs, so we can help each other to reap the collective benefits. I would urge anyone who has considered the option previously to find out more and to register your interest today.”

Marie-Louise Abretti, iChoosr UK Solar Manager added: “With energy prices continuing to increase, everyone is looking for opportunities to reduce their carbon emissions, save on energy bills and increase their independence from the grid. The Solar Together group-buying scheme offers a straightforward way to make an informed decision and to access a competitive offer from a trusted, vetted provider.”

The scheme is widely welcomed by organisations across Buckinghamshire. Ian Barham, Partnership Director at the Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership said: “Buckinghamshire LEP are delighted to see this new initiative taking place. It is important that all businesses look to work collaboratively to reduce their environmental footprint and as a Local Enterprise Partnership we will be encouraging groups of businesses to work together to take advantage of these new opportunities. We are also currently undertaking an audit of the Net Zero economy in Buckinghamshire, to identify our local strengths in this area and to spot areas for future growth. If your business would like to participate in this audit please complete the latest Buckinghamshire Business Barometer."

His sentiments are echoed by Daniel Cope, Climate Change Programme Manager at Buckinghamshire Business First. He commented: "Now more than ever, businesses are seeing the full value of solar as a means to combat rising energy costs. Unfortunately, during this financial year, most small businesses will see energy bills increase on average by £10,000. The Solar Together scheme is a brilliant way for the outlying costs of solar to be reduced, and could not have come at a more opportune moment."

To find out more or to register your interest in the Solar Together scheme visit the Solar Together website.

You can find more information on this and other actions to address climate change on this website.