Panels a bright idea to cut bills

(L to R): Thomas Buss, head of microgeneration at E.ON's sustainable energy business; Charles Rayner, Kier's senior operations manager; resident Susan Walker and Mayor Linda Arkley.

(L to R): Thomas Buss, head of microgeneration at E.ON's sustainable energy business; Charles Rayner, Kier's senior operations manager; resident Susan Walker and Mayor Linda Arkley.

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COUNCIL chiefs have come up with a bright idea to help families save money on their energy bills.

North Tyneside Council has teamed up with energy company E.ON to install solar panels on 1,000 homes so far, saving them an average of £120 a year on fuel bills and £3m between them over the next 25 years.

Susan Walker, of Ancaster Avenue in Benton, is the 1,000th borough resident to have the panels fitted.

She said: “When I found out I was getting the solar panels, I was delighted.

“People need to start thinking about helping the environment, and using this form of energy obviously does that.

“It’ll also be great to be able to save some money. I’m not sure what I’ll spend the savings on yet, but it will be just nice to have them.

“I think solar panels are the way forward.

“Everything changes, and this change is definitely for the better.”

Kier North Tyneside is carrying out the installation work for E.ON and hopes to have fitted solar panels to around 1,500 homes of the council’s 15,600 homes by the end of this week.

Borough mayor Linda Arkley said: “It’s great news that despite setbacks in funding, this project has still benefited 1,000 homes so far.

“Not only will the borough’s carbon footprint be reduced, but tenants will also benefit as a result of saving money through reduced fuel bills.”

Thomas Buss, head of microgeneration at E.ON, added: “I hope we’ll be seeing hundreds more families benefiting from this project in the weeks to come.”