Rent increase for Solar Panels

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  • #31853
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Please can I ask for views on the following:-

    The ALMO which manages our Housing Stock are considering installing solar panelling in some of the properties and have asked that if they increase the rent will it be met by HB.

    Our initial thoughts are NO but we have asked for furhter information on this before making a definite decision. The ALMO have stated that another authority have done this and HB covered the increase as it was called a “green tax”.

    All comments appreciated.

    #89076
    John Boxall
    Participant

    I think what you need to do is find out exacty how the scheme works and is funded.

    When you do pm me & I can explain what your claimants are getting & you can make a decision over the HB side of things

    Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. The blossom is blighted, the leaf is withered, the god of day goes down upon the dreary scene, and—and in short you are for ever floored.

    Wilkins Micawber, Ch12 David Copperfield

    #89077
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Is it a service charge for fuel, or just rent the for infrastructure? That seems to be the key question. Presumably there is little or no cost associated with generating power – the equipment just sits there and does it. The raw materials don’t have to be paid for (not like oil, gas and coal). Would a Tribunal see it as a quasi-fuel charge, or would it say that advancing technology has left the stodgy old HB Schedule 1 behind? I suspect option 2 would be the decision – there is no unit cost for supplying fuel.

    #89078
    Kevin D
    Participant

    In summary, the issues are:

    1) are the costs in respect of a “service”, as defined within HB regs?

    If not a service, the costs are rent. If it is a service:

    2) is it one for which the costs are eligible?

    Following Peter’s line of analysis, I wonder if solar panels can be equated with oil/gas boilers? Most, I think, would regard boilers as part of the infrastructure that don’t fall within the definition “services”, but the fuel used by them is a service.

    However, I’d be looking for more info. Will ALL tenants be subject to a rent increase, or only those on HB? If the latter, I’d be taking a very very close look at what is really going on.

    IF, and only if, the costs are considered to be in respect of a service, my inclination would be that such costs are not eligible on the grounds they would not be in connection with the provision of adequate accommodation (assuming there is already a means to provide heating / hot water).

    NB: The reference to “green tax” is completely irrelevant, as is the fact another LA has reached a particular conclusion.

    #89079
    John Boxall
    Participant

    The more I look at this, the more it smacks of contrivance.

    What happens for solar PV (electric) installations is……….

    A Feed in Tariff (FiT) of about £0.41p/unit is paid for all electricity generated.

    Any electricity generated and used within the household costs the householder nothing (ie the panels only produce power in daylight, any appliances on during the day will use some or all of this power. If, for example the system is generating 1kw & a 3kw kettle is turned on, 1kw will come from the panels, the balance from the Grid (Imported power))

    Any surplus is sold back to the grid and anything used above what is abstracted is charges at the normal rate.

    See http://www.solarsense-uk.com/feed-in-tariff.asp

    Anyway, the feed in tariffs are so attractive that a number of companies eg British Gas will put them on your roof for nothing. They collect the FiT which makes their money and the householder gets to use whatever they can of the electricity generated

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/sep/30/free-solar-panels-not-bargain

    Now, given that the deal with the FiT’s is so attractive firms can put up the panels for free, why, I wonder are the tenants being charged extra?

    Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. The blossom is blighted, the leaf is withered, the god of day goes down upon the dreary scene, and—and in short you are for ever floored.

    Wilkins Micawber, Ch12 David Copperfield

    #116406
    Kully Bains
    Participant

    We have had a claimant recently (owner – Council tax benefit claim only) who has had these solar panels installed. She expects to receive payments for surplus enery imported by British Gas, to be paid to her quarterly, and has provided an estimate for the whole year, which she has said may be £48.00 per month.
    For benefit purposes how is this income treated ?

    #116412
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Speaking as someone who has leased their south facing roof to a panel company, the question of a charge depends on who has borne the cost.

    If the panels have been provided on a lease basis, the tenant gets free electricity with no charge for this. The landlord leases use of the roof space to a panel supplier at no cost to any party (other than a nominal, one-off £1 rental fee). The panel supplier gets the Feed In Tariff.

    You need to establish who has borne the cost of installing and maintaining the panels – RSLs may have done so on a cost and profit-sharing basis?

    If the landlord has borne the cost (which I doubt – you’re looking at about £8,000 per average house) then it could be argued that the charge should be eligible in the same way that a landlord could increase the rent after fitting a new boiler.

    Many RSLs will not hypothecate costs to a particular property but apportion all costs on a pooled basis across the whole housing stock – so bear in mind that only a minority (30 – 40%) of properties are suitable for solar panels – there must be sufficient roof space facing due south and without any shadows from trees, chimneys, or neighbouring properties (panels are wired in series so any shadow on part of even one panel reduces output across the whole array).

    For anyone who’s interested, even on an overcast winter day like today my panels were generating 0.4 kilowatts an hour at midday.

    As regards treatment of income from the FIT. Isn’t this income from capital, thus to be treated as capital?

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