More than 500 Devon homeowners have taken a huge step in reducing their carbon footprint and fuel bills after installing solar panels as part of Devon Climate Emergency’s (DCE) group-buying scheme.

The scheme, Devon Solar Together, which has now concluded, invited homeowners across the county to ‘club’ together to enable them to buy high-quality solar panels at a lower price than they would have otherwise been able to obtain.  

Now in total almost 7,000 panels have been installed across the 535 homes with a total installed capacity of 2065kW – equivalent to a small solar farm.

In a year it will reduce carbon emissions in Devon equivalent to taking more than 135 cars, each driving 10,000 miles, off of the road.

Devon Solar Together was introduced by DCE, which includes local authorities and iChoosr, who specialise in group-buying schemes.

The DCE is currently in the final stages of drafting a Carbon Plan, the county’s roadmap to net-zero and Devon Solar Together is the latest example of a scheme to help residents reduce their carbon footprint.

Research by the University of Exeter shows that a fifth of all Devon’s carbon emissions are created by our homes, with more than half of those by grid-supplied electricity.  Installing solar panels will reduce the amount of grid-supplied electricity needed for things like hot water.

Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Environment and Transport said:

“By investing in a solar PV system, these householders have become part of the solution. This is one of many projects we are supporting either as Devon County Council or in partnership with our district council colleagues to reduce climate emissions.

“More than 70 per cent of all emissions in Devon come from our homes, the buildings we work in or the cars and vehicles we drive.

“By the end of this year, we will have installed 400 electric vehicle charging bays across Devon and we’ve bought 28 acres of land to work with the Woodland Trust on planting trees to offset our emissions. We have started work to reduce energy use on our buildings in Exeter, Barnstaple, Tavistock and Honiton and through schemes like Devon Solar Together, we aim to help reduce emissions in our homes as well.”