AN innovative energy- saving scheme is being installed in Huddersfield.

Solar panels are being placed on 121 council-owned flats, bungalows and houses in Primrose Hill.

It will be one of the largest schemes of its kind in the country.

The solar panels will use the sun's rays to make electricity and heat water.

Local councillors were on site to see the first of the new panels going in and have welcomed the project.

They claim the scheme will reduce tenants' fuel bills by providing 13% of their electricity and 50% to 60% of their hot water.

It has attracted £400,000 from government and European Community funds and will increase the skills of local tradespeople in solar installation.

The scheme is the result of a partnership between Kirklees Council, Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing and the Yorkshire Housing Group .

It forms part of an overall regeneration scheme for the Primrose Hill area.

Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing, which manages Kirklees Council-owned housing, is carrying out refurbishment as part of its massive `Decent Homes' programme.

And work will start later in the year on new Yorkshire Housing Group homes.

Clr Andrew Cooper, who has responsibility for housing on Kirklees Council's cabinet, said the council was leading the way in renewable energy.

He said: "This project will enable local residents in their everyday lives to make a difference – by avoiding more than 75 tonnes of damaging climate change emissions each year!

"It will also contribute significantly towards achieving the council's target for increasing the amount of energy derived from renewable energy sources, used by the council or within the district, by 5% by 2005."

The investment coming to Kirklees from government funds is made up of £310,000 from the Major Solar PV Demonstration Programme and £60,500 from a DTi Clear Skies grant.

The EC investment will be £125,000 from the SunCities programme.

The council is providing £25,000 from its dedicated Renewable Energy Fund, £25,000 is coming from the Single Regeneration Budget, £55,000 from Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing and £106,500 from the Yorkshire Housing Group.