Fold Housing set to invest £1m to install solar panels
The Fold Housing Association has announced a £1m contract for the supply and installation of solar panels at 100 sites around Northern Ireland.
Harvey Group and Solmatix Renewables will carry out the installations.
The deal, thought to be one of the biggest of its kind, will be officially announced today - days after Harvey Group revealed it was acquiring Solmatix.
Combined, the firms have a workforce of 110, with 30 employed by Solmatix - which remains an independent company within the group.
Fold said the installation of the panels would reduce its overall carbon footprint and help combat fuel poverty.
In addition, there would be "payback" for the deal within seven years, through Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROC) payments, as well as electricity exported to the grid from the solar panels.
Fold's housing director Eileen Patterson said: "Fold Housing Association is proud to be making such a significant investment in the use of renewable technology at our schemes.
"We take the issue of fuel poverty seriously - and we are working with our tenants to provide effective and sustainable solutions.
"Over the last 10 years, Fold has invested in a number of energy-efficiency systems in an effort to reduce fuel and energy costs for tenants and to improve our carbon footprint.
"We have installed solar panels across a number of general needs housing schemes, and in our experience we have found passive systems such as solar panels and increased insulation to be most effective.
"We look forward to working with both companies as we roll this project out in the coming months."
Richard Bell, Solmatix Renewables managing director, added: "We are delighted to have won this Fold tender in association with our partner, Harvey Group.
"Not only does it help us to secure employment within our organisations, but just as importantly the £1m installation will generate reliable, sustainable solar electricity.
"This means real savings for Fold tenants, and real benefits for our environment."
Brian Harvey, managing director of Harvey Group, said: "Together with Solmatix, we are delighted to have been selected by Fold for this contract on the basis of our price and quality.
"These are values that we share in common and we look forward to delivering our first high-quality and sustainable energy solution as a consortium, to serve the social housing sector."
Action Renewables will work with the housing association in the procurement and contract management of the process.
Rachel Sankannawar, business development and tenders manager at the firm, said: "This is a forward-thinking initiative by Fold Housing Association.
"By the uptake of renewable energy, Fold has secured long term, low cost, low carbon electricity for their tenants.
"Action Renewables is thrilled to be facilitating this venture."