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FS31 - Retrofitting Solar PV in Housing Stock

Written by: CIC Start Online

"Retrofitting Solar PV in Housing Stock" by Edinburgh Napier University and Malcolm Homes Ltd;


Malcolm Homes Ltd is a sister company of Dunedin Canmore Housing Association Ltd, both of which are under the Dunedin Canmore Group. Whilst Dunedin Canmore Housing Association is the registered social landlord / charitable arm of the group developing and managing social rent housing, Malcolm Homes performs non-charitable activities such as mid / market rent and consultancy / project services. Between these two companies, they have around 4,500 properties in Edinburgh, the Lothian areas and Fife under their management. The Group are also keen to explore ways to keep their housing stock and business as sustainable as possible. At the same time, they are keen to address issues of fuel property and the rising fuel costs faced by their tenants. The Group have an ongoing programme to upgrade their stock to meet the current requirements of Scottish Housing Quality Standards (SHQS) and have achieved most of the targets to date.

With the introduction of the Feed-in-Tariffs (FiTs) in April 2010, Dunedin Canmore Group are keen to explore ways to make use of this incentive to improve the energy performance of their properties, to contribute to the eradication of fuel poverty, and to maximising income which would then be channelled into other areas to further improve our stock and services to the tenants. Following internal discussions and consideration, it is now decided that the Group would want to further concentrate on the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels to their stock that would meet the above aspirations. Hence, the Group have approached Edinburgh Napier University to carry out a feasibility study that will aid the Group to form decisions on the business plan and procurement methods of the installation of PV panels. It is envisaged that Malcolm Homes will procure the installations for the Group, and therefore, will work in partnership with Edinburgh Napier University, who will supply technical knowledge and academic expertise to the study. 
The feasibility study covers the following areas:


  • Desktop and on-site surveys of all the Group’s properties to identify the suitable ones for potential PV panel installations. Roofs are assessed in terms of their technical viability for PV installation taking into account of their orientation, shading, roof structure and construction etc.
  • Establishing energy and carbon saving that would be achieved.
  • Establishing income potentially generated from FiTs for wider community work and the costs saving achieved.
  • Explore the impact on addressing fuel poverty of the residents.
  • Explore and compare the various procurement models and funding sources for PV panels installation, including self-funding, low cost finance, rent-a-roof scheme, participation of a national procurement group etc.

The study provides information for formulating a strategy and programme of PV installation to the existing stock that will maximise benefits from all aspects within the constraints of timescale (FiTs will be reduced on a yearly basis from April 2012) and financial resources.

It is also envisaged that the data obtained and the business model established in the feasibility study will aid the Group’s consideration of adopting other future renewable energy initiatives such as the forthcoming Renewable Heat Incentives (RHI).

Key words: post-1919 buildings, domestic buildings, renewable energy, photovoltaic panels, cost calculator


Julio Bros Williamson, Edinburgh Napier University

For Malcolm Homes Ltd

The outputs of this study will be disseminated in due course.


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