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Primrose Hill Solar Village

Primrose Hill Solar Village


The project at Primrose Hill is part of a European scheme called SunCities. Through this programme Kirklees Council, with partners from the Netherlands and Germany, aimed to install a total of 3.05 MW (megawatts) of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems on several thousand dwellings. This includes a total of 400kW of PV in Kirklees. This represents 4.9% of the UK’s installed capacity of solar PV (based on a 2004 estimate), which shows how significant this project is.
In the Primrose Hill area 137 homes including existing houses and new ones, will be equipped with solar energy.The existing homes at Primrose Hill were chosen as they had already received energy improvements under the Decent Homes Plus programme (This is a programme of works designed by the UK government in order to bring housing stock up to a certain standard.)

Building details

Type of building: - Residential buildings (social housing) traditional brick and stone.
- New build larch timber cladding from sustainable and traceable sources
Year of construction/ Floor area/ Operating hours: - Kirklees Neighbourhood housing: Post 1960s, bungalows, two storey houses and flats
- Yorkshire Housing Group: 2005/2006. Three storey apartment building and houses.
Heating and cooling / measures installed Existing buildings (Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing)

Decent Homes Plus upgrades: improving wall and loft insulation and installing double glazing.

New buildings

The design team is aiming to exceed Building Regulations requirements for thermal performance by 15 per cent with the use of additional insulation and 24mm double glazing. The insulation specified will have zero ozone depletion and a global warming potential of less than five, according to a new measure set by Eco Homes (This is a standard which can be applied to new, converted and renovated homes in the UK. It means that the homes have achieved a certain level in their environmental performance. The standard covers energy, water, pollution, materials, transport, ecology and land use, health and well being.)

Carbon dioxide emissions will be minimised with the installation of the solar and photovoltaic panels, low energy light fittings, natural rather than mechanical ventilation and gas combination boilers for central heating.

Energy label/CO2 emissions Eco Homes ratings of ‘very good’ for the new apartments and ‘excellent’ for the new family houses are expected to be awarded by the BRE.


Aim The project aims to:
- Reduce tenants’ fuel bills. The solar installations will provide around 20% of electricity needs and 50-60% of tenants’ hot water needs.
- Supply tenants with power from renewable energy sources, which will contribute to reaching a target of meeting 5% of the Kirklees district’s energy demand from renewable sources by 2005.
- Increase the Council’s capacity to deliver large scale renewables initiatives on domestic properties and maintain its leadership in the support of renewable energy both locally and in the UK.
- Develop local skills.
- Make a huge reduction in climate change emissions (over 60 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year).
- Support Decent Homes energy efficiency improvements on the existing houses
Key points The Primrose Hill Solar Village includes:

113 kWp of solar electricity PV (photovoltaic) systems:

- 58kWp of ‘bolt-on’ systems on existing social housing properties including 12 individual bungalows, 34 two storey houses and 3 two storey flats (1kWp per home).

- 55kWp of roof integrated systems on 31 new houses and a new building containing 48 flats.


- 63 solar thermal (hot water) systems on 32 existing social housing properties and 31 new homes.

The existing buildings are managed by Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing. The new homes are managed by Yorkshire Housing Group.

The solar PV used is made from framed poly-crystalline silicone modules. On each house 10 modules of 100 Wp rating, 2.6m wide and 3.3m high were installed. The energy produced each year per home is approximately 780 KWh. It is expected that around 20% of the homes’ energy demand will be provided by the solar PV (depending on each home’s energy use). The PV systems will be monitored for their performance.

The solar thermal systems have a size of 3 m² per residence . In each home these produce 1730 kWh per year, which should be sufficient to supply 50-60% of each home’s hot water demand.

Reason for inclusion as Shining Example The SunCities project is the UK’s largest domestic solar power project representing 4.9% of total solar power installed. This project is unique in that renewable energy (solar photovoltaic PV) has been installed on social housing properties as part of a wider social regeneration scheme at Primrose Hill.


Costs &


This project has brought a significant amount of money (more than £700,000) into the Kirklees community from the following funds:DTI Major PV and ClearSkies Programmes, EU SunCities programme, Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing, Kirklees Municipal Council (KMC) Single Regeneration Budget, KMC Renewable Energy Fund
Benefits The benefits of this project are manifold: - Environment: Once complete this project will save more than 60 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.
- Financial: More than £700,000 in external funds has been brought into the Kirklees community.
- Dissemination: The project has attracted national attention as a result of a visit from Elliot Morley (Minister for the Environment and Climate Change) as part of a tour of best practice sustainable development initiatives in West Yorkshire
- Behaviour change: tenants were provided with information about their systems. Information on energy use was provided at an informal drop-in session. Tenants will have further information and contact through providing monthly readings of the system’s output.


Partnership details This initiative is run by Kirklees Council’s Environment Unit in partnership with Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing, Yorkshire Housing Group, Kirklees Energy Services and SunCities UK partner Energy for Sustainable Development (ESD). The installers were: David Fountain, Solar Energy Systems and FilSol Solar Limited.

Tenant representatives, local Councillors and tenants have provided a high level of support to the project.


Achievements The installations on the existing KNH homes were completed in September 2005. The installation on the circus (a circular appartment building containing 48 apartments) and houses commenced in January 2006 and will be completed in summer 2006.

There has been a very positive response from tenants. In addition, through consultation exercises running parallel with this project, residents in other areas of Kirklees have expressed their support for more renewables to be installed in Kirklees.

The project has benefited from strong Councillor support, which has assisted greatly in obtaining funding and Council approval.

Local jobs have been created and local skills increased. This includes training a local solar thermal installer in solar PV installation and the establishment of a new team with demonstrated experience in installing solar PV and solar thermal systems on social housing properties.

Lessons Learned - Provide information to tenants about the systems, including energy efficiency advice, any savings to be made and who to contact if there are any problems. This will ensure that tenants actually benefit from the systems. This information should also be available for future tenants.
- Multiple funding streams can be very challenging for Council Officers having to bid for and assemble funding packages and contracts. To overcome this we would encourage Councils and Housing Associations to increase their in-house funding allocation to projects.
- Regular project meetings are essential. We found that these installations involved many new concepts that needed to be explained in detail.
- Ensure all parties are committed to grant timeframe deadlines. This is particularly important when managing multiple funds.
- Assist installers with Council procedures such as responding to Health & Safety requirements. The installers are often on site and may be the only people in their company, so they have limited time to complete the necessary paperwork.
- Use local installers. This increases the economic benefits to the local area.
- Encourage developers to become involved by highlighting the benefits, such as assistance with meeting EcoHomes standards and early compliance with future policy
- Link to Renewable Obligation Certificates (UK) and the sale of surplus electricity. If appropriate, provide tenants with information about how to do this.

To know more



Kirklees Metropolitan Council Environment Unit
Contact Kate Parsons

Environment Officer (Renewable Energy)

Phone (+44)(0)1484 223568

Useful info

Publications Renewable Energy Initiatives in Kirklees - booklet
Websites (England section)

Decent Homes Plus Program

Eco Homes

Arrangements to visit Contact Kate Parsons

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