Real Britain: Solar in the Daily Mirror

If you pick up a copy of the Daily Mirror today, make sure you flip to the Real Britain section. 

They've profiled a brilliant solar project in Warrington, which is putting panels on social housing and channeling the benefits to the people who need them most.

It's exactly the kind of thing we need to see more of, and exactly the kind of thing the government's planned renewable energy cuts will make impossible to replicate in future.

It's well worth reading the full piece over on the Mirror website, but I've pulled out a few choice quotes below.

Big numbers

By harnessing the power of the sun, Warrington Borough Council has pulled 488 families out of fuel poverty. It has installed solar panels on 2,000 homes, as well as on sheltered housing for elderly people. This saves residents £435,000, or around £145 a household per year, and the planet an annual total of 2,724 tonnes of C02.

Solar apprenticeships

Solar apprentice Anthony Whelan

Solar apprentice Anthony Whelan

“I love my job,” says Anthony Whelan, 23, who joined as an apprentice ­electrician four years ago and has just been taken on permanently by Golden Gates Housing. 
“Before this, I was stacking shelves in a supermarket. Now, I’m learning a trade and I’ve got a qualification for life. 
I really enjoy helping the families as well, knowing they can save £100 to £200 a year on their electric. And I want my kids to have a planet left.” Anthony doesn’t know whether his job will survive the cuts.

Staying warm

Retired builder Derek Lightfoot

Retired builder Derek Lightfoot

On a bungalow estate on the edge of Warrington, 73-year-old Derek Lightfoot, a former builder, tells us he loves his panels.  
“I need to keep my home warm because my wife ­Christine is recovering from a heart operation,” he says.

Tackling fuel poverty

David Cowley, the council’s head of housing services, explains: “We’re happy to be saving the planet, but our first aim was to reduce fuel poverty. [...] 
“There was a woman last year who told me that thanks to the solar panels she could now buy Christmas presents for her kids. That made me think everything we’ve been doing is worthwhile.”

Read the full article at

Banner photo: Andy Aitchison, other photos: Daily Mirror