Emerging energy opportunities for Housing Associations with ‘Draft Solar Action Plan’
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has recently published a Draft Solar Action Plan for London as part of the long-term strategy to enable the city to become zero-carbon by 2050, and deliver sustainable transport networks and buildings. The draft Action Plan is the first of its kind to be published by the Mayor and Greater London Authority (GLA), and establishes a progressive approach towards utilising the city’s solar energy capacity and uptake in the coming years. The emerging opportunities, therefore, offer Housing Associations a range of potential ways to help provide residents with locally-generated renewable energy, while reducing utility bills and carbon emissions and making homes across London more energy efficient.
Mayor of London’s objectives and targets for the Draft Solar Action Plan
- Encourage solar energy installations through the planning system.
- Help Londoners to retrofit solar energy technologies on their homes and workplaces through Mayoral programmes and funding.
- Help Londoners to make informed decisions about investing in solar energy technologies.
- Call on the government to set a national policy framework that unlocks London’s solar energy potential.
Why is solar energy important to London?
Despite it being estimated that over 800,000 homes have benefitted from solar panels in the United Kingdom, London continues to fall behind the rest of the country in the number of installations. London currently has only 2.9% of the domestic capacity registered through the government’s Feed-in-Tariff (FiT), the lowest of any region in the country. It is estimated that the Mayor’s proposals will more than double London’s current solar energy capacity by 2030. Meeting the zero-carbon target will require approximately ten times more solar energy generation to be installed by 2050 (2 gigawatts) against current levels.
Utilising London’s solar potential
There can be no denying that the solar industry does face challenges. These include a 65% reduction in domestic-scale solar tariffs and increased business rates for buildings which use solar panels to generate on-site electricity. However, positive elements within the sector indicate that the targets remain both technically and economically feasible.
Prices for solar PV panels have continually dropped over the last decade, with the average global cost expecting to decrease by as much as 59% by 2025 compared to 2015 prices. With Greater London covering an area of approximately 1,600 km2 (and around one third of which is comprised of rooftop buildings), it is well positioned to significantly increase the rate of domestic installations. As social housing represents approximately a quarter of London’s total homes, it remains an important and growing market for solar and renewable energy generation. The Plan can aid London’s long-term economic growth by developing the city’s low carbon and energy services sector, currently worth £30.4 billion to London’s economy and employing 5,000-10,000 people in the solar industry within London.
How we help:
Our Energy and Sustainability Consultants can provide tailored support to your Housing Association to help unlock the available financial and specialist mechanisms designed to increase the uptake of solar energy technologies across London’s social housing, following implementation of the Mayor’s Solar Action Plan:
- Funding opportunities: detailed analysis of the renewable energy and low-carbon funding opportunities available for Housing Associations.
- Mapping and Feasibility: analysis of residential units to identify the technical/economic viability of installing solar energy technologies.
- Sustainability Strategy: creating tailored internal policies to develop the uptake of installed solar energy technologies.
- Planning and Policy support: expert advice regarding all aspects of energy and sustainability required by local councils and the construction of new dwellings.
- Ongoing policy updates: industry-leading insights regarding latest sustainability news and opportunities covering all aspects of the built environment.
Mayor of London, Draft Solar Action Plan for London (August 2017): https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/draft_solar_action_plan.pdf
Greater London Authority (GLA): https://www.london.gov.uk/
Energy Leap Project: https://www.london.gov.uk/decisions/md2080-energy-leap-project
London Community Energy Fund: https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/lcef_prospectus_2017_oct_final.pdf