New solar panels will harness renewable energy to power the council's buildings and cut its bills, saving money that will be spent on local services instead.
Islington Council is including plans in its budget to install solar panels on the roofs of council offices and depots, including the Town Hall, reducing electricity bills and selling any unused energy back to the national grid.
The move is expected to benefit council finances by over £130,000 a year, allowing the council to protect services for some of the most vulnerable in the local community, despite huge central Government cuts.
Solar panels will be added to council offices, libraries and community centres, capturing energy from the sun, despite the English weather.
Cllr Troy Gallagher, Chair of Islington Council's Policy and Performance Scrutiny Committee, said: “We’re facing massive cuts to council budgets from central government. That makes it all the more important that we look for new ways to generate money so we can continue to protect vital services like libraries and children’s centres for our residents. We have been exploring additional ways of generating extra income and have concluded that solar energy could make a real difference.”
The proposal, made by the council’s Policy and Performance Scrutiny Committee, builds on the ongoing work of councillors O’Sullivan, Webbe, Murray and Court as the members of a Task & Finish Group set up to look in detail at the potential of photovoltaic cells. They will continue to explore the possibility of adding solar panels to other buildings in the borough, such as leisure centres and council homes.
The government cut the tariff for selling electricity back to the national grid in 2011, removing at that time any financial incentive to install solar panels. Since then though, the cost of installation has dropped by 40 per cent, meaning it is now financially viable for the council.
Council officers will assess each site to determine the design and type of panels to be used on each building.