Stafford and Rural Homes (SARH) is plugging into a brighter future by installing solar panels at its Beaconside head offices.

The 230 high-specification photovoltaic (PV) panels are being fitted to the roof of The Rurals, in Parker Court, this week and will generate over 47,000 kwh of electricity a year – reducing the housing association’s £36,000 per year energy bill by 12 per cent a year.

The project is part of the firm’s commitment to environmental improvements which was launched as part of its Going for Green initiative last year.

Chris Poulton, SARH’s Director of Asset Management, said that the installation of the panels was ‘an investment in the future’.

“It was important for us to underline our ecological commitment to customers by getting our own house in order. The long-term energy-saving capability of the panels will see them pay for themselves completely within 13 years and we will start to see cash saving on our bills within the first year,” he said.

Most of the electricity generated by the energy source will be drawn into a converter and used in the day-to-day running of SARH’s offices.

The remainder, including weekends when only selected parts of the building are in use, will be exported to the National Grid and offset against bills.

Each panel measures 1.6 metres by 1 metre and they are expected to be put in place within a month.

As part of SARH’s Going for Green programme, 268 of its bungalows were fitted with PV panels last year at a cost of £900,000.

The selected properties had to be suitably sited to catch the sun.

Customers living in those homes have saved an average of around £120 per year as a result – a total of more than £32,000 worth of energy savings!

Lynne Lewis of Cherry Lane, Gayton, said: “I‘m very pleased that SARH has fitted solar panels to my home. They compliment the new air source heating system and loft insulation I’ve just received. Having a combination of energy-saving devices within the home is becoming so important to save on fuel as prices are on the increase.

“In March I will receive my annual account and I am looking forward to seeing what savings I have made”.