STA supports Mayor’s call for enabling national policy framework
New build detail awaited by industry
11th August 2017
The Solar Trade Association (STA) has welcomed the publication of the Mayor of London’s Solar Action Plan. The Solar Action Plan is a Manifesto commitment of Mayor Sadiq Khan and it will be consulted on over the next three months. While the GLA’s new solar targets are welcomed, if modest, the STA is focussed on practical measures that will help to boost London’s solar markets and which will enable Londoners to make the most of the Feed-In Tariff (FITs) scheme, which has less than two years left to run.
Leonie Greene, Head of External Affairs said;
“Solar is vital to any green and modern capital city. London is now starting the focussed work it urgently needs to do to catch up on solar, not only with the rest of the UK but with other world cities. However, the Mayor is quite right that national Government needs to provide a better enabling policy framework to support his ambitions – particularly on the tax treatment of rooftop solar.
The GLA has strong powers to boost solar in new buildings so while the Solar Action Plan references building standards we are keen to see better policies for solar in the new draft London Plan published later this year. There is scope to deliver far more solar onsite in new developments across London – developers should not be able to buy their way out of taking every due opportunity. Our members have already demonstrated that solar works on everything from bridges to sky-scrapers, where it actively enhances the dynamism and the beauty of our capital city.”
The STA shares the Mayor’s concern about the wider national policy framework for solar that has unhelpfully seen business rates for organisations consuming their own rooftop solar increase by up to 800% and slow progress on reforming the FITs for larger rooftops.
Syed Ahmed, Director of think tank Energy for London, Board Member of the STA and author of ‘London Can’t Wait for Solar’  said;
“London has recently passed the 100MW level of solar installed. Whilst this is to be welcomed, this still only represents two per cent of total PV capacity operational across the UK. London can do so much more. Solar PV, when working alongside new technologies such as electric vehicles (EVs), storage and local power supply options, will be a key enabler to achieve the Mayor’s goal to make London a zero carbon city by 2050.
With national government decision to scrap the Urban Community Energy Fund (UCEF), it is particularly welcome that the Mayor has proposed to launch a new London grants scheme to help community energy groups get solar projects off the ground.”
STA members have delivered solar schemes across London including the Blackfriars Solar Bridge, the Walkie Talkie and at Kings Cross. However, despite some striking solar schemes and London’s prominence as a world city London has been the poorest performing region in the UK on all solar indicators .
The STA is also pleased to see the GLA will provide online advice to Londoners on going solar since there are around a million owner-occupied homes that could be readily encouraged to invest in rooftop solar. Despite reductions in the FIT, solar continues to present a good investment for home owners. Solar is increasingly being adopted alongside storage, where the STA last week won 5% VAT for storage when it is installed alongside a new solar system.
Leonie Greene, Head of External Affairs added;
“We and our members look forward to working with the GLA to strengthen their Solar Action Plan which we are keen to see put into action as quickly as possible. We are also keen to work with the Mayor to secure a more helpful national policy framework to help him achieve his solar ambitions.”
Notes for Editors See; http://web1.greenpeace.org.uk/sites/files/gpuk/Solar-London-Election-2016-Report.pdf  London currently has the lowest amount of solar in the UK on all indicators including by number of installations, the proportion of power generated from solar and the proportion of households with solar. See for example; https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/system/files/docs/2017/01/fit_annual_report_2016.pdf
and Ofgem’s quarterly FIT regional data for London (31 March 2017)
For further information or to request an interview, please contact:
Name: Leonie Greene
Title: Head of External Affairs
Main line: 0203 637 2945
Mobile: 07932 720 091
Background on the Solar Trade Association:
The mission of the Solar Trade Association is to empower the UK solar transformation. We are paving the way for solar to deliver the maximum possible share of UK energy by 2030 by enabling a bigger and better solar industry. We represent both solar heat and power, and have a proven track record of winning breakthroughs for solar PV and solar thermal.