Following the success of the 2022 and 2023 schemes, Wiltshire Council and Swindon Borough Council are working in partnership with iChoosr, independent experts in group buying, to launch the third Solar Together scheme.

Solar Together gives residents the opportunity to invest in renewable energy from a trusted provider to save on energy costs and improve their carbon footprint. The scheme utilises group buying to leverage cheaper solar panel and installation costs from vetted providers. The core principle is that coming together as a group provides enhanced buying power and allows the approved providers to offer a better price than individual homeowners might get from entering the market alone.

The initiative offers solar panels (also known as solar PV) with optional battery storage and electric vehicle (EV) charge points. It also offers battery storage installation for residents who have already invested in solar panels and are looking to maximise how much of their self-generated energy they can use at home and become less dependent on electricity from the grid.

The scheme has been popular and well received by residents with many leaving their feedback on how it was for them. One resident said “Our experience of Solar Together was great from start to finish. We signed up to just see what the cost might be and were pleasantly surprised that we could afford the quoted price. This very quickly moved to a survey and before we knew it, installation. A seamless service with excellent customer care throughout.”

Another resident commented “The process was straight forward to follow with good communications and explanation of what was going to happen and when.” And in regard to quality and price, another resident said, “it gives the reassurance of quality control and a very competitive price for the whole installation.”

Councillor Dominic Muns, Wiltshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change, said: “Solar Together is a real gamechanger for solar panel technology in Wiltshire, offering residents the opportunity to get solar panels installed hassle-free at more affordable prices from trusted providers with all the support they need to make the most of their green investment.

“This is the third Solar Together scheme we’ve ran with iChoosr in Wiltshire and Swindon and the previous schemes are on track to deliver 1,110 installations, totalling more than 10,660 solar panels and resulting in over £11 million invested by residents into the green economy. All of the schemes combined are also estimated to lead to a reduction of 22,000 tonnes of CO2 over the 25-year guaranteed lifetime of the solar panels installed.

“Solar Together is a great way for households to make long-term savings by generating their own renewable energy, whilst also helping our ambition to reach net zero carbon emissions across the county.”

Councillor Emma Bushell, Swindon Borough Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Organisational Oversight said:

“We’re really pleased to be involved in the Solar Together scheme for the third year running. This tried and tested scheme has so far helped over 430 Swindon households access quality solar panels and battery storage installations at a competitive price. This is estimated to achieve a combined reduction of over 8,000 tonnes of CO2 over the 25-year guaranteed lifetime of the solar panels installed.

“I’d encourage anyone who is considering whether buying solar panels to generate their own renewable energy is right for them, to visit the Solar Together website. It has lots of clear information to help decide.”

The prospect of choosing an installer and making the change to renewable energy can be daunting, but Solar Together makes the switch to clean energy as hassle-free as possible. The scheme supports people every step of the way, providing clear and objective information that people can trust, so that they can make a well-informed decision and receive expert guidance throughout the process.

The lower cost of the product and installation is made possible by iChoosr holding a reverse auction with vetted installers who compete to offer the group of residents who have signed up the best price. Across the country, iChoosr have helped facilitate over 33,000 installations with 10-25 per cent savings against the market average.

There is no obligation to go ahead with purchasing solar panels if people register their interest. They will receive a detailed and easy to understand personal recommendation which they can choose whether to accept or not.

The scheme is now open for registrations in Wiltshire and Swindon and the deadline is 9 August 2024. People who are interested can register for free.

To register for the scheme, residents must either own their own house or have permission from the landlord to install solar panels. Small and medium-sized enterprises (non-domestic) and Commonhold Associations meeting this requirement can also participate.

For more information including likely costs and the amount of energy people can expect to generate, people can visit the Solar Together site for the local authority area in which they reside:

Residents from across Swindon and Wiltshire who wish to contact iChoosr can email the team or call 0800 048 8113.

Wiltshire residents looking for ideas on lowering their carbon footprint and information on accessing support or grants for energy efficiency in homes can visit the Wiltshire Council website.

Swindon residents can find out more about what they can do to play their part in tackling climate change, while also reading about what other initiatives are already taking place across the town, by visiting the Swindon Borough Council website.