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Solar for the poor absolutely forbidden

This article was written for Pension Times by Jack Rainbow, and is a follow-up to a recent piece they provided telling the story of their difficulty at getting their social housing landlord to grant permission for the installation of solar panels.

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Solar for the poor absolutely forbidden
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Readers might recall my recent story about my social landlord's refusal to allow solar installation. On 28th September, I got to speak to a lawyer for 30 minutes. It "only" cost me £240, including VAT. I know you will all be hugely concerned that she has been paid, struggling as she is, but I can assure you I paid her upfront so you can set your minds at rest. She has been taken care of.

Despite the finality of the last refusal from the housing association, the lawyer said its concern is, in reality, about costs and has nothing to do with safety. She was not interested in my poverty, my struggle to meet the new energy costs, the consequent reduction in my food budget and underpinning everything, the grotesque inequality, discrimination, exclusivity and gross unfairness of denying the benefits of solar to the poor. 

These issues are irrelevant to the law. And, of course, to the government. 

She had no interest in what is fair or reasonable since that is of no interest to the law, either. As a lawyer, her ONLY concern was cost. It is reasonable for the housing association to protect itself from the costs of installing solar. She said I should prepare a draft plan indicating my willingness to bear all costs. For example, sometimes roof panels cause leaks. Although the association would pay for the repair, I would need to agree to cover the costs of things like scaffolding.

There would also be possible extra insurance costs which I would have to agree to pay. And I would have to pay for annual safety inspections. Before any of this could be realistically considered, I would have to pay a surveyor to check the building and roof structurally in case it is unsuitable to bear such a load, at a cost, she thinks, of over £800. There are probably other costs of which I lack awareness.

To do all the above, I would need a new tenancy agreement with the housing association. The lawyer told me I could send an outline plan, including cost estimates, and they could advise specific concerns I would then be obliged to address. When I had addressed every financial concern the housing association raised, I could then formally ask their permission. Then, and only then, she said, might it be "unreasonable" if they refused. Might?

Clearly, this is a concern for government both locally and nationally. Moreover, since the government is a signatory to Net Zero policies, it must be obligated to consider the 50% reduction in fossil fuel pollution from the UK's 4.4 million social homes that social solar would create. But the government has de-prioritised social solar implementation until 2050.

Obviously, I cannot bear the costs that installing solar will raise. It's not just a question of having the money. It's the fact that if it was my own home, I could go ahead, and the costs of a surveyor and the annual inspections would be optional, not an obligation as with a social landlord. With all the additions, the cost to me of installing solar is more than doubled to £12,000 instead of £5,000. Instead of getting my outlay back in four to five years, it would take ten to eleven years. 

If I used a loan and repayment plan instead of cash upfront, the benefits of having cheaper energy for the first ten years would vanish. I could look at various options, like getting a loan for the additional costs and paying only the actual installation upfront, so perhaps I might get a 10% discount instead of a 50% discount for the first five years. In ten years, I will be 82. Am I actually fighting for the triumph of reason rather than the hope of a reasoned response to PRESENT ISSUES from the early dementia case that is government? Is reason worth fighting for?

As an example of early dementia in government, I offer readers the gift of Jacob Rees Mogg's recent statement to the Tory party: "a prototype nuclear fusion plant, possibly the first in the world, will be built in Nottinghamshire by 2040." You can read all about it here.

Has he nothing to say about PRESENT energy issues?

My own MP, pro-immigration Remainer Dr Daniel Poulter, does not answer my letters, and I have no means of presenting my concerns to the government. I could write to the ministers involved asking them to get Back From the Future. Perhaps they might ask Poulter to respond before this issue gets more adverse publicity for the Tory party. It's not just I who is fed up with their Net Zero dementia. The single most significant factor in pollution is population, which the government is allowing to massively increase whilst proclaiming belief in Net Zero.

If you have a question or a comment, I will answer even if you disagree with me. So please, contact Pension Times and make your views known. What you think about energy issues is very important to me.

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