The UK Labour Party has announced plans to install solar one 1.75 million homes as part of a huge energy sector shake-up.
The plans would see solar installed on 1 million social homes in a bid to tackle fuel poverty, while a series of interest free loans, grants and regulatory changes will help enable an additional 750,000 domestic installs.
Full details of the plans are to be announced by Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn later today.
The party said the policies stood to create nearly 17,000 jobs, while raising as much as £66 million for local authorities through the export of surplus generation.
Corbyn said that the party’s self-styled Green Industrial Revolution would benefit homeowners and revive parts of the country through the creation of new industries.
“By focusing on low income households we will reduce fuel poverty and increase support for renewable energy. Social justice and climate justice as one. Environmental destruction and inequality not only can, but must be tackled at the same time,” he said.
The industry has strongly welcomed the plans, with Solar Trade Association director Leonie Greene arguing that climate change had emerged as a critical issue for all modern political parties.
“The solar industry would relish scaling-up rapidly to deliver on these commendable ambitions which would see deployment rates double compared to the past decade. A solar homes push would give a tremendous boost to green jobs across the UK, which are good quality and local in nature.
“We are particularly pleased to see Labour's focus on social housing, since solar can save households potentially hundreds of pounds off their energy bills. Current policies deter those who need solar the most from accessing it, which is a great shame,” she said.
Greg Jackson, chief executive at clean energy provider Octopus Energy, meanwhile described Labour’s new commitment as commendable.
“Policy detail aside, the key to success and a greener future is to bring technological innovation to the UK energy market, fast.
“We need to transform our grid to become a ‘people powered’, decentralised energy system where increasing numbers of citizens can become generators as well as consumers. Solar panels on every home could bring cheap, smart energy to local communities,” he said.
Neil Perry, CFO of UK-based developer Solarcentury, added: “Financing the upfront cost of residential solar has always been a barrier to solar power adoption, so Labour’s plan to offer interest free loans to encourage take up is particularly welcomed by us.
“The plans are ambitious in terms of costing and scale, but this is the time to be bold in adopting renewable energy and moving towards a greener way of living. This move from the Labour Party is the leadership we need on renewables as we work towards a future where the majority of the world is powered by clean, solar electricity by 2030.”
Yesterday, Labour unveiled plans to renationalise the country's energy networks, bringing National Grid and the country's DNOs back under public ownership as part of a radical overhaul of the energy sector.