Eight more London boroughs sign up to mayor’s solar vision


Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has added his voice to the rising chorus of protest at the U.K. government's inactivity on solar policy.

Announcing the recent expansion of his Solar Together scheme – part of a patchwork of solar-related policies for the English capital city – the Labour mayor said: “City Hall [is] doing all [it] can through [its] 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.”

The mayor has opened a second phase of the Solar Together scheme, under which individual households and small businesses in participating London boroughs – local councils – can register applications for solar panel installations.

The volume of orders – 1,100 installations were agreed during an opening phase which was one-third the size of the latest round – and the fact they will all be concentrated in the capital incentivizes suppliers to offer significant discounts when the next reverse auction takes place to win the supply contract, on August 22.

Significant discounts

Under the first round of the program, participating households and businesses saved an average 35% on the retail price of installations carried out by winning supplier Solarcentury and Ikea. The savings ranged from a 10% discount for the smallest, four-panel order up to a 41% reduction for the largest, 36-panel scheme, with the most common order placed for ten-panel systems, which offered a 31% saving.

The Labour London boroughs of Brent, Ealing and Merton, together with the Liberal Democrat controlled Sutton took part in the opening phase of the Solar Together program and have now been joined by the Conservative boroughs of Westminster; and Kensington & Chelsea; the Conservative-independent split Havering; and the Labour councils of Camberley, Haringey, Islington, Newham and Waltham Forest.

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With some of the initial phase's installations already taking place, participants can now sign up to take part in phase two, which will see them receive quotes relating to their application by September 10, with group buying specialist iChoosr administering the program.

The Mayor's office was unable to confirm what capacity will be installed under the first phase of the scheme or where the panels supplied by Solarcentury and Ikea were manufactured.

Solar Together is one strand of Mayor Khan's aim of having 1 GW of solar installed in London by 2030, as part of his wider plan to make the English capital a zero carbon city by 2050, an ambitious target which would require 20 times more solar than is currently installed in London.

Mr Khan is backing solar under his separate Energy for Londoners campaign to reduce energy bills for residents and businesses in the capital whilst driving the adoption of clean energy technology.

This article has been amended to reflect Solarcentury, rather than Solarcity, was the partner of Ikea as successful bidders in the first phase of the scheme.


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