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FS34 - Port of Leith Housing Association Solar PV Feasibility Study

Written by: CIC Start Online

"Port of Leith Housing Association Solar PV Feasibility Study" by Edinburgh Napier University and Port of Leith Housing Association


Port of Leith Housing Association is a registered social landlord (RSL) and charity which aims to provide high quality, affordable homes in neighbourhoods where people want to live. The Association was established in 1974 and since then has been building, improving and managing affordable housing in Leith and the surrounding area. Port of Leith currently owns and manages over 2,200 homes, housing 3,300 people. As a not-for-profit organisation, any surplus monies generated by the Association are reinvested in the provision of housing and wider role activities for local communities. The Association has a range of housing types, including general needs, sheltered, amenity, wheelchair-accessible, for both individuals and families. The Association’s office is based in the heart of the Leith community and can be easily accessed by tenants and residents. The Board of Management includes tenants and people that have an active local involvement in the Leith community.

Over the next five years, as well as providing a further 500 new affordable homes, the Association aims to modernise its existing traditional, tenemental housing stock to improve thermal efficiency, reduce fuel poverty and meet Scottish Housing Quality Standards. It is anticipated that the additional income generated through Feed-in-Tariffs from the installation of solar PV panels on Port of Leith stock would contribute towards achieving that goal. The Association has already undertaken an initial feasibility study to produce a shortlist of suitable properties, based on roof type and orientation. The study takes forward this initial work.

Port of Leith Housing Association collaborated on a feasibility study with the Scottish Energy Centre at Edinburgh Napier University to investigate the possibility of retro-fitting solar PV panels to approximately 10 of its existing developments (comprising approximately 250 homes) as well as to the Association’s office. The PV panels would be used to generate electricity for communal facilities provided by the landlord, such as lifts, door entry system and communal lighting. Three of the developments within the study are sheltered housing complexes with additional common areas which are powered by the landlord’s electricity supply, for which an additional service charge is paid by the residents. The installation of PV panels would reduce the Association’s dependence on electricity from the national grid and would therefore enable the Associations to reduce its service charges for sheltered housing tenants.

The study comprises a cost/benefit analysis of the installation of PV panels within the Association’s stock, taking account of the following factors:

  • Estimated capital cost of PV installation and pay-back period based on current Feed-in-Tariffs (over 25 year period) and estimated savings on current electricity costs;
  • Cost/benefits of generating additional electricity for export to the grid;
  • Suitability of roof type and orientation for installation of PV panels;
  • Size and type of PV panel to maximise solar gain;
  • Planning/conservation area issues;
  • Any technical aspects with respect to installation and maintenance (including roof access);
  • Advice on any capital funding available


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


Julio Bros Williamson, Edinburgh Napier University

For Porth of Leith Housing Association

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






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