Solar Made Easy supports homeowners and small businesses in Cumbria to install solar panels (PV), by providing independent advice and improving access to good installers.

Renewable energy generation is one of our most important weapons in fighting the climate emergency. And one of the most immediately familiar and widespread technologies that produces renewable energy is solar PV. Despite all appearances, there is plenty of sunshine in Cumbria to generate worthwhile amounts of power.

The ultimate aim of the Solar Made Easy project is to help install as much solar PV infrastructure as possible. Alongside this goal, we want to help people understand solar PV, how it works and how to go about getting it installed and we also want to get people thinking about energy efficiency.

How it works

Potential PV Power

In 2020, we helped create a mapping tool which is a useful guide to evaluate the viability of solar PV. It provides an estimate of the amount of energy that could be generated from solar PV on individual roofs. We’ve now mapped additional communities which you can see in this list.

A purple ‘blob’ denotes that a roof is viable for solar PV. Hovering over the roof, a pop up shows the potential electricity that could be generated from solar PV.  The mapping tool recognises whole roof shapes and doesn’t recognise property boundaries or ownership, so, for example, the amount of potential generated electricity might relate to panels on both your roof and the neighbouring property. The mapping tool gives an estimate which can be verified with a site survey. 

To find out more about how the mapping is created, please watch this presentation to Arnside Parish Council.

Access to installers

A main issue with the installation of solar panels (PV) at the moment is that demand is outstripping supply. The energy crisis has made everyone want to cut their energy bills and many are thinking about solar PV. Whilst we have some good installers in Cumbria, there aren’t hundreds of them and they are fairly small businesses. Understandably, the installers are most interested in big sites where the most profit can be made. This is where the Solar Made Easy project can help.

This project aims to create a solution to this issue by using an approach based on clusters of sites, working with communities to turn many small jobs into one big job to make it more attractive to installers.

Ambleside Pilot Project

We ran a pilot in Ambleside in 2021 and are delighted that the first solar installations are now complete, on both homes and hotels. Our first happy homeowner told us “We’re really pleased with the result and keep popping into the cupboard where the electrics are to check progress – we’re like a couple of kids on Christmas Eve!  Without your help and support we’d probably be still procrastinating because we had so little knowledge.

Roll out to communities

We have since worked with more communities to rollout the project in their areas. These communities were chosen as they have active sustainability groups or parish or town councils who are supporting the project and helping to engage local residents. We have been working with householders across the county to arrange quotations for them from our partner installers.

As and when we launch in new communities, we will be inviting homeowners and businesses to get involved with the project. Working with the local sustainability group and parish or town councils, we will review their roofs for suitability, gather information and pass them on as a cluster to our installers.

Love Solar installing solar panels at Alston schools solar made easy

Watch our Solar Made Easy webinars

In November 2021, we hosted a webinar explaining the Solar Made Easy project in detail. It went through how you can take advantage of it, as well as provided information about solar PV and answered any questions attendees had.

Then, in June 2022, we hosted a solar panels (PV) Question Time session where we invited the public to ask their own questions about the process of installing solar PV. We also heard from someone who had recently had the technology installed on their home.

You can watch both webinar sessions below.

We are partnered with Carbon Coop for our Solar Made Easy project, they helped us to design the project and they will be providing technical advice for the future.

Additionally, we are partnered with Ambleside Action for a Future who initiated the project and were the pilot site for our mapping tool. They will form a part of the overall steering group.

This project is funded funded through the Energy Industry Voluntary Redress Scheme, and

Westmorland and Furness Council logo
ENW logo - solar made easy
HM Government logo - solar made easy
Levelling Up logo