Over the last few years, we have taken a number of steps to introduce low carbon interventions and improve the local environment in the borough.

These have included installing electric vehicle charging points, investing more than £15m in building solar energy farms, while we have almost finished converting the vast majority of the borough’s streetlights to LEDs. We are also replacing our own vehicles with electric alternatives once they reach the end of their life.

But local authorities are only responsible for between two and five per cent of their area’s emissions, which is why our Be the Change campaign is encouraging all of us to do our bit, however small, to reduce the effects of climate change.

One way people can reduce their own emissions, while saving money on their energy bills, is through having solar panels on their homes to generate their own electricity.

You may have seen over the last couple of weeks that we have teamed up with Wiltshire Council and independent experts, iChoosr to form a group-buying scheme for solar panels and optional battery storage available to local residents.

The unique nature of the scheme brings residents together in one big group to purchase solar panels at a more competitive price than they might get if they bought them on their own.

We have had a tremendous response so far with 1,448 households across the whole of Wiltshire – and 606 in Swindon – registering for the scheme in its first week.

If you own your own home, or have permission from the property owner to install solar panels, you can register your interest in the scheme up until 14 June 2022.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (non-domestic) and Commonhold Associations meeting this requirement can also take part. It is free to register and there is no obligation to go ahead with an installation – you can decide whether to proceed once you have had your personal recommendation through.

The initiative offers solar panels with optional battery storage and EV charge points, as well as offering battery storage for residents who have already invested in solar panels and are looking to get more from the renewable energy they generate and increase their independence from the grid.

You can even discuss options to divert solar energy to power the immersion heater in your hot water tank if you have one.

There have been a number of really successful Solar Together schemes over the last few years with more than 8,400 installations saving tonnes of lifetime carbon emissions.

If you would like to find out a bit more about how the Solar Together scheme works, I would encourage you to visit www.solartogether.co.uk/swindon

You can also contact iChoosr by email at wiltshire@solartogether.co.uk or by calling 0800 048 8113.

If solar panels are not for you, there are lots of other ways you can contribute to tackling climate change outlined on our Be the Change webpage www.swindon.gov.uk/bethechange