The Square Mile goes where Boris Johnson fears to tread


On the day U.K. prime minister Boris Johnson announced a ten-point ‘green industrial revolution' plan that made no mention of solar power, the City of London Corporation signed a 15-year, £40 million (€44.8 million) deal to buy all the electricity generated at a 49.9 MW solar park planned in Dorset, in the southwest of England.

The corporation – which is elected largely by representatives of businesses in the ‘Square Mile', the heart of the nation's financial district – signed a deal with French renewables company Voltalia which will enable the developer to construct the 95,000-panel solar farm.

The timing of the power purchase agreement (PPA) was not lost on Chris Hewett, chief executive of U.K. photovoltaic trade body the Solar Trade Association (STA). A statement issued by the STA in response to the prime minister's solar snub quoted Hewett as saying: “Whilst the prime minister might have a blind spot for solar, decisions in the market are likely to outpace his thinking. Today the City of London signed a 15-year deal to fund a new solar park; residential solar installations have already bounced back to pre-pandemic levels; all major utilities are expanding their solar ambitions; and costs continue to fall. Delivering [a] net-zero [carbon economy] is now as much about economics as it is policy.”

Popular content

The PPA signed by the City of London authority will offer the organization savings of around £3 million on its energy bill and the solar farm is expected to meet around half the authority's electricity needs. The deal was described by the energy offtaker and Voltalia – in a joint press release issued today – as “the first of its kind in the U.K. to be signed directly between a renewables producer and governing authority.”

The City of London said it had already been procuring all of its energy from renewables since 2018.

This content is protected by copyright and may not be reused. If you want to cooperate with us and would like to reuse some of our content, please contact: