PRESS RELEASE: Industry welcomes Labour’s ambitious and inclusive solar homes policy

Solar Trade Association
Immediate Release
15 May 2019

The Solar Trade Association today welcomed the Labour Party’s announcement that it will support over a million new domestic PV installations across the UK, through a mixture of fair export tariff payments, grant funding and by driving large economies of scale. The policy will specifically target low-income households, particularly those in social housing, as part of the party’s wider retrofitting programme aimed at improving the energy performance of UK homes. The announcement follows the closure of the Feed-In Tariff and the export tariff last month, and comes at a time when the industry is fighting new unhelpful proposed changes to the VAT treatment of solar combined with battery storage. [1] 

Further policy proposals would see a programme of interest free loans, grants and regulatory changes which will support the installation of solar PV on an additional 750,000 homes, paving the way for households of all incomes to invest in the nation’s favourite energy technology. Community energy schemes would also be given a major boost, with support for scoping potential projects, interest-free loans and modest grant funding. The proposals are expected to create almost 17,000 new solar jobs, and cut 7.1million tonnes of CO2. 

STA Director of Advocacy and New Markets Léonie Greene said; “All modern political parties must now think big when it comes to empowering people to act on the biggest issue of our times; climate change. 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. 

We are also pleased to see a clear acceptance that solar must be treated fairly, both in terms of complex new network charging regulations and ensuring fair market payments for the smallest generators. At a minimum, Governments really must provide a level playing-field to enable popular and cheap technologies like solar to thrive.” 

The announcement comes during a record breaking week for solar, in which a new generation peak of 9.47GW was reached thanks to clear and bright conditions. [2] The STA has set out new guidance for households that wish to take meaningful climate action and go solar. [3]  Plummeting costs mean that solar is now more affordable than ever, and nearly two-thirds of households are interested in investing in the technology. [4] 

Growing public concern about inaction on climate change means the industry anticipates that a modest market will continue in the UK, particularly since solar PV will still make good economic sense for people who are home all day, such as retired people, families with young children and those who work from home. However, the industry is pressing the Government to publish its proposals on the Smart Export Guarantee, which is needed urgently to replace the export tariff for new small-scale generators, [5] and to drop new VAT proposals for ‘smart’ solar as a matter of urgency. 

ENDS 

 

Notes to editors 

[1] Industry associations call on HMRC to scrap proposed VAT changes for energy saving materials: https://www.solar-trade.org.uk/industry-associations-call-on-hmrc-to-scrap-proposed-vat-changes-for-energy-saving-materials/  

[2] Record broken as UK solar hits all-time generation peak of 9.47GW: https://www.solar-trade.org.uk/record-broken-as-uk-solar-hits-all-time-generation-peak-of-9-47gw/  

[3] Solar Trade Association issues advice and tips for households: https://www.solar-trade.org.uk/resource-centre/advice-tips-for-households/  

[4] ClientEarth’s Climate Snapshot 2018: https://www.documents.clientearth.org/wp-content/uploads/library/2018-08-20-clientearths-climate-snapshot-coll-en.pdf  

[5] MPs back solar industry call for fair market payment: https://www.solar-trade.org.uk/press-release-mps-back-solar-industry-call-for-fair-market-payment/  

 

For further information or to request an interview, please contact:

Name: Jack Dobson-Smith

Title: Public Affairs & Communications Officer

Main line: 0203 637 2946

 

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 solar heat and power plus battery storage, and have a proven track record of winning breakthroughs for solar PV and solar thermal.