Solar panels

Don’t let the sun go down on us

23 October 2015

The London Assembly Environment Committee wants the Mayor to lobby the Government against the proposed 87 per cent cut or complete scrappage of the Feed-In Tariff (FiT), which provides financial subsidy to households with solar panels[1].

It is feared that the proposals for the FiT, due to come into effect on 1 January 2016, will result in thousands of job losses for London’s green energy companies[2].

London has the lowest amount of installed solar power capacity in the UK[3] yet the Greater London Authority (GLA) estimates that 50 per cent of roofs in London are suitable for solar photovoltaic (PV) panels[4]. Failure to increase solar PV will make it harder for the Mayor to meet his 2011 target to generate 25 per cent of London’s energy through local and renewable sources.

The Committee also wants the capital’s incoming Mayor to promote the benefits of domestic solar power to Londoners and to provide them with the support and knowledge to utilise this valuable green energy source. 

The Committee launches its report, ‘Bring me sunshine! How London’s homes could generate more solar energy’ today. The report explores why London isn’t meeting its potential for producing solar power. It also comments on the impact of the Government’s proposed changes to the FiT. 

The report’s recommendations include:

  • The Mayor should argue for greater stability in solar PV policy and gradual, predictable reductions in subsidies.
  • The GLA should ensure that major developments which are suitable for solar PV are only permitted if solar panels are included in the design.
  • The GLA should set out ways to increase domestic solar power for Londoners in its upcoming Energy Plan, paying particular attention to landlords in the private rented sector.

Environment Committee Chair, Darren Johnson AM, said;

“Our report demonstrates the many benefits to the capital of increasing our capacity to generate domestic solar power. Homeowners and communities – some of whom may be experiencing fuel poverty – can save money through lower bills and benefit from the all-important Feed-In Tariff.

We’ve seen this week the impact of solar power on London’s economy, with reports that job losses could be in the thousands should the changes to the FiT go ahead. This serves to highlight that growth in the capital’s green energy sector would create jobs and skills for many Londoners. The environmental benefits are also not to be overlooked, as an increase in domestic solar power will ultimately contribute to climate stability, which affects us all.  Whilst we appreciate that there are limitations, our report recognises that both the current and incoming Mayor have a significant role to play.”

Report launch event: Friday 23 October, at Skyline Solar Ltd in Ealing. Details here.

Notes to editors

  1. The report is the view of a majority of the Committee. The GLA Conservative Members’ dissenting views are set out in a minority opinion within the report.
  2. Solar Trade Association - Cut to solar energy feed-in tariff puts up to 27,000 jobs at risk across the UK, 1 October 2015
  3. Feed-in Tariff Installation Report 1 April 2010 - 31 March 2015 – Ofgem and dwelling data from 2010 census (Nomis dataset DC4403EW).
  4. GLA (2011): Decentralised energy capacity study Phase 1.
  5. ‘Bring me sunshine! How London’s homes could generate more solar energy’ (attached).
  6. Darren Johnson AM, Environment Committee Member, is available for interview – see contact details below.
  7. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For media enquiries, please contact Mary Dolan on 020 7983 4603.  For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officerNon-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.