Solar panels installation on social housing to bring more than 1,000 jobs
Over 1,000 new jobs are to be created under a £1 billion programme to install solar panels on social housing across England and Wales.
The Government welcomed £160 million of capital spending by Dutch firm Maas Capital, which will help fund solar panels from UK company Solarplicity.
Around 100,000 households will receive panels in the next 18 months, reducing their energy bills by an average of £240 a year.
Around 800,000 households will be fitted with a panel over the next five years, with over 40 local authorities and other landlords already signed up to the programme.
Many of the jobs to install and maintain the panels will go to veterans from the armed forces.
International Trade Minister Greg Hands visited a social housing development in Ealing, West London to see solar panels being fitted.
Mr Hands said: "After a record year for new foreign investment into the UK, this initial £160 million capital expenditure program will deliver massive benefits to some of the UK's poorest households.
"As well as creating 1,000 jobs and delivering cheaper energy bills for up to 800,000 homes, it shows yet another vote of confidence in the UK as a place to invest and do business."
Tenants in the North West will be the biggest beneficiaries with over 290,000 homes receiving solar panels in towns like Oldham and Bradford, followed by the North East and Midlands, with 184,000 and 154,000 homes from Leeds to Derby.
David Elbourne, chief executive of Solarplicity, said: "Today's announcement is a reflection of our exciting growth in the energy market, backed by international capital investment through the Department for International Trade."