A furniture recycling charity is being powered by the sun after a donation of solar panels as part of a scheme to green 4,500 homes in Tameside, Greater Manchester.
2nd Generation Furnishings in Stalybridge has been given the green makeover to mark the landmark of 1,000 homes being fitted with solar panels in the borough.
The installation at the charity is part of an international deal worth more than £18 million between Taiwanese solar company GES, a Neo Solar Panel group company, and housing association New Charter Housing Trust Group.
The contract is believed to be the first solar licensed deal of its type and the biggest solar project for a housing association in the UK. It will help save tenants around £40 million in reduced electricity bills and save nearly 133,500 tonnes of carbon over the next 25 years.
GES wanted to mark the landmark installation of panels to 1,000 homes by donating and fitting panels on a project that was making a difference in Tameside. The panels, fitted by Sustain Energy Solutions, will significantly cut the charity’s electricity bills.
2nd Generation Furnishings is supported by New Charter Housing Trust which owns the green charity’s Stalybridge building. The charity recycles furniture to sell at a low cost to people unable to furnish their homes.
A delegation from Taiwan flew in to perform the official handover of the panels to the charity at its shop in Stalybridge. The event was attended by GES chairman Dr Quincy Lin, New Charter Chief Executive Ian Munro, Tameside Council Leader Kieran Quinn and Tameside Mayor Dawson Lane.
The deal has attracted widespread media interest in Taiwan. Two TV news film crews and two newspapers reporters travelled with the GES team to report on the handover and the work being done as part of the installation on the 4,500 homes.
Ian Munro, Chief Executive of New Charter Group, said: “Supporting 2nd Generation Furnishings is a fantastic way to mark the installation of solar panels to 1,000 homes. GES firmly believes in giving something back to the communities they work in and this is an extremely kind gesture.
“There may be almost 10,000 miles between our two countries but there is a shared goal to cut carbon emissions and improve the planet’s environment.
“This initiative is also helping to tackle fuel poverty for our tenants who have suffered due to rising energy costs. Tenants living in homes with the solar panels will see their bills drop by between £200 and £400 a year.”
Dr Quincy Lin, GES chairman, said: “We believe in supporting local communities and this is something we do in our home country. The 2nd Generation Furnishings project will clearly benefit from reduced electricity bills which will allow them to do even more good work.
“This solar panel project is the first we have done in the UK and is an extremely significant deal for GES. The deal basically involves using roof space for solar panels under a licence agreement with New Charter. This allows New Charter to retain control over the roof and their tenants benefit from reduced bills through the energy produced by the panels on their homes.”
Tom Daly, who helps run 2nd Generations Furnishings with his wife Ann, said: “The shop is run on a shoestring budget and being able to cut our electricity bills will make a huge difference. Every penny we save will go back into helping the most vulnerable people in our society.
“We were delighted to hear we had been chosen to have the panels fitted. It really sits well with the ethos of the organisation which is about recycling and making the best out of the resources we have. We are truly a green organisation now.”
The panels are being fitted on the 4,500 homes by GES’s UK fitter, Sustain Energy Solutions. GES works in partnership with Phanes Group.