London will need to be supplied by a range of efficient and clean energy sources. Energy generated from solar technologies will be part of this mix and London is aiming for two gigawatts of installed solar energy capacity by 2050.
In the past decade, the UK has seen a dramatic increase in the number of solar energy installations. Despite recent setbacks, solar energy generation is set to grow further. Solar technologies are versatile and can be installed in a wide range of locations and sizes. These include domestic and commercial buildings and, where appropriate, large installations on the ground. Solar energy projects can be developed and installed very quickly, and the fuel — solar radiation — costs nothing and is pollution-free. However, London lags behind the rest of the country in realizing the benefits of both solar photovoltaics and solar thermal technologies and there is a significant opportunity for London to increase its uptake from today’s low levels.
To meet the zero carbon target, London will require significantly more solar energy generation to be installed: two gigawatts (GW) by 2050. The Mayor has therefore set an ambition for London to achieve 1 GW of installed capacity by 2030, ten times more than today’s levels, and 2 GW by 2050. This can’t be achieved through the Mayor’s leadership and programs alone. It will need strong and supportive policy from national government, and the support of local government, the private sector, charities, and individuals. To play his part, the Mayor has set a target for his own programs to almost double London’s current installed capacity, installing an additional 100 megawatts (MW) by 2030.
The plan has five objectives, with actions to achieve them under each:
- Lead by example by maximizing solar energy technologies on Greater London Authority group buildings and land
- Encourage solar energy installations through the planning system
- Help Londoners to retrofit solar energy technologies on their homes and workplaces through Mayoral programs and funding
- Help Londoners to make informed decisions about investing in solar energy technologies
- Call on government to set a national policy framework that unlocks London’s solar energy potential
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, commented:
Solar power provides a way for Londoners to have a stake in their own energy generation. In Brixton, for example, solar power schemes have been installed that are owned by estate residents through share offers, creating engineering apprenticeships for local young people.
By embracing solar energy, we have an opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of Londoners — both now and in the future. I look forward to working with Londoners, businesses and public sector organisations right across our city to put London back on track to deliver our solar energy potential.