RESIDENTS living in Bournemouth council homes are set to benefit from the installation of more photo-voltaic (PV) solar panels.

A further 500 council homes will have solar PV panels installed between November 2011 and March 2012, following the council’s successful pilot scheme earlier this year.

Also set for the installation of PV systems – since the agreement of the council’s cabinet members – are Bournemouth’s town hall Annexe, the Pavilion Theatre, Kinson Hub, Kingsleigh Primary School and Heathlands Primary School.

In the longer-term, it is hoped that more schools, care homes and other council buildings will also have solar PV panels fitted.

Councillor Robert Lawton, cabinet member for housing and environment, said: “This is a fantastic scheme for the borough and clearly demonstrates our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint in Bournemouth as well as benefiting council tenants by reducing their electricity bills.

“We are one of the first authorities in the south to install solar PV systems on our housing and other council buildings. Following our successful pilot scheme with our own PV installation service we are now in a position where we can roll out solar PV systems more widely to include all suitable council housing, care homes and schools.”

The solar PV system programme is part of Bournemouth Borough Council’s commitment to becoming a greener town by generating renewable energy that will benefit not only the environment as well as reducing electricity bills.

The PV systems fitted to council housing will be funded by prudential borrowing from the Housing Revenue Account (HRA), a ring fenced account for housing.

PV installations to other council buildings will be funded by prudential borrowing from the council’s general fund.

Funding has already been set aside in the project budget for the Kinson Hub. The council’s in-house building maintenance team is the main installer working in close partnership with Mouchel, the authority’s incremental partner.

In the long term it is hoped that around 20-40 additional jobs will be created with some PV |installations sub-contracted to small local businesses.