Council solar/ PV schemes and equality legislation


An issue that arose during our July CSPS events, and has since been raised again, is whether the necessary selectivity of houses chosen for solar/ PV panel installation in council schemes could breach equality legislation.

This is potentially a problem because of the significant financial savings in energy bills that tenants may enjoy where solar panels are installed, while a neighbour across the street in a house with the wrong orientation could be excluded; an issue that is not helped by solar panels being very visible improvements to a property.

Several of our members who are currently considering possibilities around council solar schemes are keen to further explore this problem.

We would therefore likel to hear from any organisations that have come up against the issue, to get some further insight on whether this really is a problem, and how it has been overcome.

Further, is this a problem that is limited to solar panels? How if at all does equality legislation affect areas such as insulation being put into some houses but not others?

2 Responses

  1. George Munson

    Madness! Follow the logic of this argument and no council would ever make any improvements to properties for fear of discriminating against people not receiving them.

    We’re viewing this as a purely technical matter: if the property (in one of the areas chosen as having best technical potential) has good technical potential to receive solar PV it will be offered it; if not, it won’t. This is no different to loft insulation, cavity wall insulation, efficient gas heating etc, where over time properties with the capacity to receive whatever technology are being slowly upgraded.

    • Jonathan Balls

      I agree with the points that you make George, on all houses inevitably being different, and therefore logically solar selectivity not being a problem.
      However, even considering these points, we have heard from other public sector organisations that believe that any solar schemes they move forward on will have problems in dealing with equality legislation and the inevitable selectivity in houses involved in any scheme – in a way that is not a problem with other improvements such as insulation.
      Was your decision to treat any scheme as a techical matter based on any wider discussions that you had around the potential problems involved in solar selectivity, or has this simply not been seen as a concern?