Mayor expands solar panel scheme after 4,000 sign up to first phase

29 June 2018

Mayor expands solar panel scheme after 4,000 sign up to first phase

- Eight more boroughs sign up to innovative group-buying discounts (12 in total)

- Mayor calls on government to support growing solar industry
- Initiative part of Sadiq’s wider Solar Action Plan

Londoners and businesses in 12 boroughs will be able to buy high-quality, affordable solar panels, as the Mayor Sadiq Khan expands his scheme to help make London a zero-carbon city by 2050.

Following a successful first phase earlier this year, eight further councils have signed up to the Mayor’s Solar Together scheme. From today residents and small businesses can register to buy high-quality panels to generate their own renewable energy, using a group-buying model to unlock significant savings from suppliers.

Solar energy is an increasingly low-cost source of renewable energy and the Mayor is pushing ahead with efforts to ensure more Londoners and businesses can take advantage of improvements in this technology. He is also calling on government to do more to support the growth of the industry.

Today Sadiq published his Solar Action Plan, which outlines his ambition for more of London’s energy to be generated by solar technology. It is estimated that schemes like Solar Together could more than double London’s current solar energy capacity – but Sadiq is clear that London can, and should, go further to help meet his ambition for a gigawatt of power generated using solar in the capital by 2030.

Camden, Haringey, Havering, Islington, Kensington & Chelsea, Newham, Waltham Forest and Westminster will join Brent, Ealing, Merton and Sutton – which took part in the first phase – in enabling residents and businesses to buy the panels at reduced costs. Group-buying expert iChoosr, who helped deliver the scheme earlier this year, will also administer this second phase.

There were nearly 4,000 registrations for the first phase, with more than 1,100 accepting the offer of more affordable solar panels. The winning company in the first phase of the scheme was SolarCentury (together with Ikea), which offered an average saving of 35 per cent on the cost of solar installations. Installations of the panels have already started in some areas.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I’m delighted to launch the second phase of Solar Together London. This will offer even more Londoners the opportunity to buy and install solar panels for their homes and small businesses at a significant saving.

“Solar offers an increasingly low-cost source of energy for Londoners and we need to speed up its roll out across the capital. City Hall are doing all we can through our new Solar Action Plan but more needs to be done at a national level.

“The Government urgently needs to outline the future form of financial support for solar and how it intends to seize the opportunity to provide low-cost, reliable and clean power.”

UK Solar Manager for iChoosr, Ruud Frijstein, said: “The group buying model is proven to be a solution which helps householders to make a decision with a compelling price and gives installers access to much needed customers. And the real winner is the environment.” 

Advocacy & New Markets Director at the Solar Trade Association, Leonie Greene, said: “This fantastic, practical leadership from the Mayor of London, with now over a third of London councils, will enable thousands of savvy Londoners to install high quality solar at a competitive price. Solar Together London genuinely empowers Londoners to do their bit to spread solar across the capital's roofs. This technology is so important to scale up fast if we are to tackle climate change and clean up the air we breathe."

Estimates suggest reaching the Mayor’s target of making London a zero-carbon city by 2050 will require 20 times more solar energy generation equipment to be installed across the capital than is currently in place.

This is part of the Mayor’s Energy for Londoners programme, which aims to cut Londoners’ power bills and supply the capital’s homes and workplaces with more clean, locally-generated energy.

After Londoners have registered to be part of the scheme, a group of pre-approved solar panel suppliers bid in a reverse auction (where prices are driven down by competition between suppliers) to provide panels to interested residents and businesses.

ENDS

Notes to editors

To sign up to Solar Together, visit: www.solartogetherlondon.co.uk. To read the Mayor’s Solar Action Plan, visit: https://www.london.gov.uk/WHAT-WE-DO/environment/environment-publications/solar-action-plan

- Transport for London are set to expand their solar power usage and install energy efficiency measures across a variety of TfL owned buildings including bus stations and office buildings, in a new £4.5m refurbishment project.

- In March this year, the Mayor awarded £150,000 of his London Community Energy Fund to 13 solar energy projects across eight boroughs, including solar panels on schools, churches, sports centres, and even a city farm.

- Grants awarded will help fund the development costs associated with setting up solar projects before they can move to installation and start supplying clean and cheap electricity to the community.
- For more information, see: https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/environment/energy/solar-together-london.
Solar installations are now taking place for Londoners who accepted their offers from the first phase of Solar Together London. Previous similar schemes have had a conversion of approximately 25 per cent.
How does Solar Together work?

- From today households in London can register online to become part of the scheme for free and without obligation.

- Pre-vetted UK solar PV suppliers participate in an auction on 22 August. They are able to offer compelling offers as the volume and geographic concentration will make it possible for them to realise greater efficiencies which they pass on with lower prices for installations.

- After the auction, from 10 September, registered households will receive a personalised offer from the winning supplier, which is specific to the details they submitted in their registration.
- If they choose to accept their offer before it expires (on 19 October), the specifics of their installation will be confirmed with a technical survey after which a date can be set for the installation of their solar PV system. All installations will be complete prior to the end of the Feed in Tariff availability to new applicants.

- Those registered for the scheme can access support via telephone and online, while information sessions will allow households to gain more information.

- The 35 per cent average discount of the panels over market prices ranges from 10 per cent discount for the smallest solar photovoltaic system in the scheme (four panels) to 41 per cent for the largest system of 36 panels. The most common system of 10 panels comes in at 31 per cent below the baseline market price. The second phase of the scheme will involve a new reverse auction and the average savings may differ.

- Research showed the key reasons for Londoners signing up to the scheme were the positive environment impact as well as the reduction in their energy bills.

About iChoosr

- iChoosr was founded in 2008 and is privately owned by two co-founders. Before it was invited to enter the UK energy market in 2012 it had focused on collective switching schemes in the Netherlands and Belgium where it works with community leaders helping households to select energy and solar power suppliers.

- Beyond the Solar scheme run with councils in London and Norfolk, iChoosr has a strong track record of delivering group purchase schemes for local authorities. It has worked with 160 UK local authorities on its collective energy switching schemes. 

- For more information, visit: www.ichoosr.co.uk.