09/01/2007

Government looks to solar panel efficiency

Solar panels are being installed free of charge to 500 homes in Northern Ireland as part of the Government’s renewable energy campaign.



The panels cut water heating bills by an average £120 a year as well as reducing emissions.

They are among the first tangible benefits from the £59m Environment and Renewable Energy Fund announced by the Secretary of State last year.



Social Development Minister David Hanson today visited the home of Mr & Mrs Chris Gamble at Moss Road, Lisburn where a solar panel has been installed to launch the Housing Executive’s annual Home Energy Conservation Report.

The Minister said:

 "Solar panels take advantage of a free energy source, the sun. They also help to reduce energy bills and help our fight to eradicate fuel poverty. This initiative is one of several major projects supported by the Environment and Renewable Energy Fund (EREF).



"We need to do everything we possibly can to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. This has been made more imperative by the volatile fuel prices we have been faced with in recent years. The Housing Executive is playing a lead role in this battery and its latest report highlights the progress that has been made to date.



"We hope that the £59 million EREF fund will build this and encourage Northern Ireland people to harness the natural resources all around us to provide heat and power. It is expected to lever a further £300 million of private sector investment in our renewables infrastructure."



Brian Rowntree, Chairman of the Housing Executive, said:

 "The 10 years since the Housing Executive was named the Home Energy Conservation Authority for Northern Ireland have seen substantial improvements in the levels of energy efficiency, with an improvement of 17.2% compared with 14.56% in England by 2005. The Housing Executive continues to improve the energy efficiency of its own stock and support schemes in the private sector.


"We are currently involved in a two-year programme involving the installation of 600 solar thermal panels in its properties. We, too, hope that such schemes will make the general public more aware of the alternative technologies, helping to drive down the prices of these technologies and making them more affordable for everyone across the residential sector."

The solar water heating panels are being part funded by Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE). Managing Director Stephen McCully also visited the home of Mr & Mrs Gamble today and said: 

"Demand for alternative energy sources has been growing steadily in Northern Ireland and it is hoped that by encouraging this type of project, other homeowners and businesses will consider installing sustainable energy solutions.

"We are very keen to help support renewable energy installations and currently have a grant available to help householders install electricity generating panels."

(EF)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

12 April 2018
SDLP Welcome Housing Shortage Funding
SDLP Social Justice Spokesperson, Nichola Mallon MLA, has welcomed an agreement made between Radius Housing and Barclays that will see £50 million of funding used to tackle housing shortages in areas of high demand.
23 April 2018
Serious Concerns Raised Over Rise In Private Rents
Sinn Fein has raised serious concerns after figures revealed the rise in private rents in Northern Ireland. The party's housing spokesperson Carál Ní Chuilín made the comments according to figures in the Homelet Rental Index. She said: "Average rent in the private sector has risen by 2.4% here compared to an increase of 0.9% in Britain.
20 April 2018
Other News In Brief
Sinn Féin Raises Concerns Over Rental Costs Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson, Carál Ní Chuilín, has expressed alarm at new figures which show that renting privately is becoming more expensive. Responding to the figures contained in the Homelet Rental Index, the North Belfast MLA said: "Average rent in the private sector has risen by 2.
18 April 2018
PSNI To Take Part In 24-Hour Speed Campaign
Police in Northern Ireland are taking part in a 24-hour crackdown on speeding. The PSNI are participating in The European Traffic Police Network which will pay attention to drivers who fail to stay within the speed limits.
12 August 2014
£14m Film Studios Announced For Belfast
Two new film studios at a cost of £14m are to be built in Belfast, the Department of the Environment has announced. Planning approval has been granted for the new studios, which will expand on the existing facilities in the city's Titanic Quarter, where the HBO fantasy drama Game Of Thrones is filmed.
26 July 2005
WWF welcomes all-island renewable energy plans
WWF Northern Ireland has welcomed plans by the British and Irish Government's to secure cost effective, environmentally friendly power sources for the future of Ireland, north and south.
08 October 2003
UK Energy Minister launches new initiative in Belfast
A new initiative to encourage the development of renewable energy in Northern Ireland is being launched today in Belfast by UK Energy Minister, Stephen Timms.
23 March 2018
Prince Harry And Meghan Markle Visit Northern Ireland
Prince Harry and his fiancee Meghan Markle are on their first official visit together in Northern Ireland. The couple visited the Crown Liquor Saloon Bar and staff from the National Trust told them about some of the history of the bar.
20 November 2002
NI homes save £82m due to energy efficiency
Warmer homes, lower bills and a healthier environment have resulted from a focus on Home Energy Efficiency in Northern Ireland.
19 April 2018
Construction Work Starts On £3.5m Development In East Belfast
Construction work has started on 28 new homes in the Dundonald area of east Belfast. Hagan Homes is developing the new houses in the Comber Road area and the scheme is expected to be completed by Spring 2019. 50 construction jobs are to be created and Phase 1 of the development is scheduled for completion later this year.
17 April 2018
Other News In Brief
Man Convicted Of Benefit Fraud A man has been convicted for claiming benefits he was not entitled to at Antrim Crown Court. Charles Doey claimed Employment and Support Allowance and Housing Benefit totalling £13,082 while failing to declare employment. He was given a three month custodial sentence suspended for two years.
12 April 2013
Sustainable Energy Report Launched
A new report into the economic benefits of sustainable energy technology in Northern Ireland has been launched. The MATRIX Horizon Panel report into Sustainable Energy identifies the capability of the Sustainable Energy technology sector in Northern Ireland and opportunities for local companies to exploit.
20 January 2011
Renewable Energy Gets Powerful Boost
A new association is being formed today aimed at expanding the use of renewable energy sources, such as wind power. The Northern Ireland Renewable Industry Group (NIRIG), which represents the collective voices of Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA) and RenewableUK in Northern Ireland, was officially launched on Thursday.
03 September 2009
Wind Is 'Foundation' Of Renewable Sector
Wind energy could form the bedrock for achieving Northern Ireland's renewable energy targets, the Environment Minister has said. Speaker at the Irish Wind Energy Association Workshop in Belfast, Edwin Poots reaffirmed his support for the wind industry and all other renewable energy technologies.
31 July 2008
"Squandered" Potential Of NI Renewable Energy Industry
The alleged "paralysis" of the Northern Ireland planning system is hampering efforts to establish a viable renewable energy industry in the Province, according to a senior Airtricity director.