The Swansea community going off grid to save money as energy bills spiral

Penderi in Swansea is a typical Welsh community braced for energy price hikes - but there's a difference.

A massive solar panel and battery scheme being carried out by the Pobl Housing Association is said to be cushioning price rises.

Residents like Nikita have had the technology installed in a bid to protect them against rising bills and to help the environment.

"It has saved a lot and it will tell you how much you've used. Like today, I've only used 73p", Nikita told ITV News.

Nikita has two children with a third on the way, but in difficult times she says the solar panel system has helped with her bills already.

"I have had [the panels] for two months now and the difference hit the first week I had it, I could tell the difference in how much I was actually using. Normally I top up and by the end of the week I was topping up again. But I went for at least another two weeks."

Nikita said the scheme has already saved her money. Credit: ITV News

Nikita has solar panels - also known as photovoltaics (PV) - and batteries.

The energy generated by the panels will be shared among more than 600 homes via batteries, helping each household to see a reduction in their reliance upon the energy grid.

Keiron Lloyd, one of the installers, said: "All 644 homes will have batteries, not necessarily PV, but the PV benefit is spread equally across all 644 homes."

So far, the project has been installed in around 100 homes, at a total cost of £5 million.

So how realistic is a scheme like this on a Wales-wide level?

Solitaire Pritchard, from the Pobl Housing Association, said: "Well there's obviously the will, isn't there, to do this.

"But we're incredibly lucky here. We've got £3.5 million of EU money which really enabled this project. But without it, would it be happening? I'm not sure. But I think without a doubt there's a need to have this level of investment into renewable projects like this."

The question with such schemes is whether the technology can be scaled up enough at an affordable price for private use.

But it does demonstrate the possibilities for communities to become less dependent on a spiralling energy market.