Eco-friendly homes are putting the ‘sun’ in Sunderland

Gentoo executive director of property Ian Porter, with tenant Maureen Bates, who has benefited from having solar panels fitted to her home in Hetton.

Gentoo executive director of property Ian Porter, with tenant Maureen Bates, who has benefited from having solar panels fitted to her home in Hetton.

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Sunderland is one of the top four locations in the country for the number of eco-friendly homes.

The city has been ranked in the UK for the number of homes fitted with solar PV technology.

At Gentoo we believe in being a responsible business and providing free solar PV to our customers has not only helped them save significantly on their household energy bills, but it’s part of our wider Planet Smart strategy to reduce our impact on the planet.

John Craggs

New figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) show 6,639 homes across Wearside are benefiting from solar technology.

Northumberland and County Durham are also ranked among the best in the country.

The DECC figures show only Cornwall, Peterborough and Wiltshire have a higher take-up than Sunderland, while County Durham and Northumberland are ranked fifth and sixth respectively.

Sunderland property firm Gentoo Group recently fitted its 4,000th home with solar panels as part of its £1billion investment in Sunderland.

Acting chief executive John Craggs said: “This is fantastic news for Sunderland and I’m proud that Gentoo has been able to contribute so significantly to the city’s high ranking.

“At Gentoo we believe in being a responsible business and providing free solar PV to our customers has not only helped them save significantly on their household energy bills, but it’s part of our wider Planet Smart strategy to reduce our impact on the planet.

During a time of constantly rising domestic energy prices and the impact of the Government’s welfare reform, our PV programme has gone a significant way to protect our customers from fuel poverty and helped support them to live independent lives.”

Gentoo has been offering free solar PV panels to its customers since 2011 and the scheme has a 70% sign-up rate.

Households with solar panels save an average £100 per year on their energy bills, or £384,000 across households enjoying the benefits of solar PV, the equivalent of total savings of £7.7million over the 20-year lifetime of the panels.

Gentoo has installed 7.8 megawatts of solar PV, producing enough energy annually to power a Nissan Leaf to the moon and back 10 times.