Solar power comes home

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The Independent Online
Solar power is being used to cut fuel bills for low-income families in an experiment set up by Greenpeace and a housing association.

Three terrace houses in Silvertown in London's Docklands were chosen to show that solar panels can generate electricity in ordinary homes, making a saving of pounds 60 per household.

Although it is expensive to install the 10 panels needed for each house, Greenpeace is campaigning for grants to revolutionise the market. Marcus Rand, a Greenpeace campaigner, said: "We are calling on the Government to start a nation-wide solar programme immediately.

"Just by re-directing the pounds 17m currently spent on oil, coal and gas industries Britain could have a minimum of 50,000 solar homes by 2010. The Silvertown project shows it's possible."

George Barlow, chief executive of Peabody, one of London's largest housing associations, said: "We [this project] hope it will set in motion a new approach to the use of clean, renewable energy to reduce energy costs for people who most need affordable housing."