Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has signed off on a £200,000 plan to launch the third phase of a group buying program which could drive up to 2.5 MW of new solar rooftop capacity in the English capital.
The first two stages of the Solar Together London scheme resulted in 624 solar rooftops with a combined generation capacity of 1.43 MW being installed across 14 London boroughs – and inspired three other English regions to trial the initiative.
Under the program, property owners in each borough register interest in potentially installing a solar rooftop based on information available in an online tool which offers an insight into the cost and benefits. That group is narrowed down by visits to interested households and each remaining borough-based pool of potential customers is auctioned off by Netherlands group-buying specialist iChoosr to accredited solar installers through a reverse auction process.
Installers bid for the contract based on the cost they will charge for the systems and are able to undercut market rates because of the volume of customers based in close proximity to one another, ensuring savings for each household which then commits to have a solar rooftop installed.
A pilot phase of the scheme in August 2017 brought savings of 10-41% on market installation rates – for an average of 35% – for 324 households across five London boroughs.
After the initiative was used in East Anglia and Essex, Mayor Khan signed off a second phase of the program in London as part of his Solar Action Plan ambition to secure 1 GW of new solar generation capacity in the capital by 2030 and 2 GW in a carbon-neutral London by 2050, helped by hoped-for government efforts.
The second phase of Solar Together London was expanded to an additional nine boroughs and brought savings of 6-25% (average 20%) for a further 300 households.
The Greater London Authority documentation related to phase 3 of the program highlights an ambition to secure 700-1,000 more solar rooftops with 15% of them expected to include a residential battery storage option, and with homeowners receiving payments for excess power exported to the grid under the government’s new Smart Export Guarantee scheme.
With the London authority intending to select iChoosr again as provider of the program, the boroughs involved in the latest round of the initiative are being selected by the end of the month, based on housing data and the number of hours local authorities are able to devote to the program.
Phase 3 is due to be opened next month with the supplier reverse auction set for October and installations to take place from November to June.