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AceOn: Supporting social housing energy transformation

Richard Partington, managing director of AceOn Energy, an APSE Energy Approved Partner, explains why we are at a tipping point when it comes to the climate emergency and why the time to act is now.

Last year, the UK Government launched its Net Zero Strategy, which set the plan for decarbonising all sectors of the economy to meet the net zero target by 2050. In addition, most local authorities have set Climate Action Plans and many industries have new regulations to increase the use of renewables and improve energy efficiency. Yet, fuel poverty continues to be a national issue — and is now being compounded by a severe cost of living crisis.

We are facing an immeasurable challenge when it comes to climate change and, in some respects, the UK is leading the way in facing those problems.

Over the last three decades, the UK has reduced emissions by 44 per cent. Petrol and diesel car sales will be banned from 2030 and by 2035 the UK will be powered entirely by clean electricity.

But it is actions on the ground — and roofs — that will make a significant difference, right now, to the challenges facing us as a nation and as individuals.

With solar PV alone, 28-30 per cent of solar energy generated can be consumed directly within a home. This figure rises to 70 per cent when adding in energy storage systems.

From our experience of working with the social housing sector, we have developed an offering that will enable a local authority or housing association to recoup some, or all, of their investment in solar energy generation and energy storage.

Partnering with national energy supplier, Rebel Energy, AceOn can offer an exclusive green deal, which encourages investment in renewable power to meet carbon targets, all while cutting household bills and offering an additional revenue stream.

It was important for us to find a partner that shares our values and the values of APSE member authorities — and Rebel Energy is the only regulated energy supplier with a stated social mission to help tackle fuel poverty.

Through the scheme, homes will be fitted with solar panels and battery storage systems to allow tenants to generate, store and use their own clean electricity.

Combining AceOn’s knowledge and experience as battery specialists with Rebel Energy’s OFGEM-regulated offering enables a ‘win-win’ to the social housing sector through:

  • Reducing a tenant’s bill now and in the future — helping to tackle fuel poverty, protect and insulate tenants from the full extent of future rises in energy prices and enabling a household to pay their rent and other living costs more easily.
  • Providing a revenue income stream for social housing suppliers — assisting the investment in renewable energy and other housing measures and turning capital into revenue to fund services, including for tenants who cannot benefit from the programme.
  • Helping to tackle climate change — helping to decarbonise a social housing provider’s housing stock and reduce the carbon footprint of each home. Our system helps to reduce the tenants’ running costs to support the installation of ‘environmentally-friendly’ heat pumps.
  • Supporting the local community — retaining more money in the local economy and potentially sharing the financial benefit with those tenants whose homes are unsuitable for solar PV.

We really understand the social and affordable housing landscape. We are working with several local councils and housing associations, APSE and the National Housing Federation and — organisations at the forefront of delivering Net Zero targets, and we want to support them.

We hope that by teaming up with Rebel Energy, we can make their decisions to invest in solar PV, batteries and other renewable technology for social housing stock a little easier.

Our aim is to deliver the technology at an affordable price point while also transforming the investment into a sustainable revenue stream that can be used to support other housing services and the operation of the housing provider overall.

We believe that our technology is ideal for both retrofitting to existing houses as well as new builds — and it’s even possible to add battery storage to homes with Solar PV panels already installed.

Tenant engagement is also crucial in the rollout and installation of energy efficiency and renewable technology in social housing accommodation. We want them to understand, see and feel the benefits.

We want as many social housing providers as possible to know about our model and its benefits too.

We launched the model at the APSE Big Energy Summit on 9 March 2022 and we are now having discussions with several councils and housing associations who see the potential of our offering. We are hopeful that some announcements will be made in the summer around our early adopters.

However, we are taking nothing for granted. We aim to offer the best products and services we can and to work as positive partners to social housing providers and their tenants.

Our approach is truly collaborative.

The timing is right in terms of climate change; the greater need for energy independence and security in the UK; and the increasing costs of living and energy prices.

For more information about the AceOn group visit: https://www.aceongroup.com/


Promoting excellence in public services

APSE (Association for Public Service Excellence) is a not for profit unincorporated association working with over 300 councils throughout the UK. Promoting excellence in public services, APSE is the foremost specialist in local authority frontline services, hosting a network for frontline service providers in areas such as waste and refuse collection, parks and environmental services, cemeteries and crematorium, environmental health, leisure, school meals, cleaning, housing and building maintenance.






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