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RHONDDA Cynon Taf Council has said it will help with up to a quarter of the costs of buying and installing solar panels on people’s homes.

A cabinet meeting on Tuesday, September 6, signed off the solar panel grant scheme which will provide funding of up to 25% towards the purchase and installation of the solar panels.

It will be capped at a maximum £1,000 grant and be open to owner occupiers only with no means testing involved.

Any additional costs of works above the grant maximum are to be met by the home owner but can be met by other assistance such as loans or other grants if they meet the eligibility criteria and the selected installer must be registered with the MCS or Flexi-Orb.

The cabinet report said that homeowners having green measures like solar panels, heat pumps, or insulation installed, would no longer have to pay VAT due to a change that came into effect in April, 2022, and will last until 2027.

The report said that if someone was to install solar panels to their home worth £4,500, including VAT, they would now make an initial saving of £215 as they would not be required to pay the 5% VAT, meaning the same array of solar panels would now cost £4,285.

Also, against this cost of £4,285, an extra saving of £1,000 through
the new solar panel grant scheme will be provided by the council which would
leave them with £3,285 to fund themselves, meaning an overall saving of £1,215.

The report lists the advantages of solar panels which include saving money on energy bills, cashing in on electricity that is not used, a shrinking carbon footprint and the fact that they are low maintenance.

Cabinet also agreed to extend the domestic heating grant scheme until 2025. It helps owner occupiers either install first time central heating or upgrade existing heating systems.

The grant provides funding of up to £5,000, with no contribution required, unless the costs exceed the grant maximum and they want to “top up” the costs themselves.

The grant is available to people with a household Income under £30,576 after rent or mortgage costs so it helps those with below average income for RCT. It is only for owner occupiers and covers boilers not working or condemned if under 10 years old.

If a boiler is working it must be either more than 10 years old or have less than 86% efficiency or a recommended measure on a valid Energy Performance Certificate.

Grant funding will not be eligible for households with more than £16,000
savings but they will instead be guided towards home improvement loans. External funding will be used if available at first with the proposed funding used to provide any shortfall funding up to the maximum grant.

Any additional costs of works above the grant maximum are to be met by
the home owner but can be met by other assistance such as loans or other grants if they meet the criteria.

Councillor Mark Norris, cabinet member for development and prosperity, said the extension of the domestic heating grant scheme would help residents combat the current energy crisis while also supporting the council to deliver on its climate change ambitions.

He said the solar panel grant “gives hope” to people as taking away a quarter of the cost is a “huge help” going forward and he said he was sure it would be taken up by many residents.

The leader, Councillor Andrew Morgan, said it was quite a substantial amount of support for residents.

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