Londoners missing out on vast amounts of solar energy

Solar power in London (3)

Londoners could be missing out on vast amounts of solar energy as a result of the city’s low uptake of residential solar panels.  The capital has just experienced record breaking temperatures with long hours of sunshine providing perfect conditions for solar energy production.

Despite a population of over 8.6m, it is estimated that the capital produces less energy from domestic solar panels than any other region of the UK. According to the latest Government figures London has only 46,284kW of domestic solar power generating capacity, the lowest of any region in the country. By comparison the South West has enough residential solar panels to provide almost 310,000kW in capacity.

A report from the London Assembly Environment Committee last year found that the Mayor was failing to hit key targets for his domestic energy efficiency programme, in part as a result of the slow uptake of solar panel technology.

Earlier this year a Government survey found that 81% of people supported solar energy, making it the most popular form of energy production in the UK.

There is vast untapped potential for solar power production in the capital. Whilst we bask in the summer sunshine, London could be producing significant amounts of environmentally friendly energy.

The Mayor’s dismal efforts to increase renewable energy use have failed to deliver the goods. Across the rest of the country the appetite for domestic solar power is rocketing yet in London uptake is severely lagging behind. When Wales, with a population of just 3m, produces three times more energy than London from domestic solar panels, there’s clearly a problem.

The Mayor needs to do more to promote the opportunities and benefits of domestic solar power in the capital. If London were to really embrace solar panel technology as other regions have, the potential is as bright as the sun.

–       Domestic (non-commercial) solar power generating capacity installed between 2010 and April 2015 by Region in kW:

  • South West                          309,027
  • South East                           263,944
  • East of England                   235,626
  • East Midlands                      206,081
  • Yorkshire                             193,870
  • North West                           178,573
  • West Midlands                     158,888
  • Scotland                               139,001
  • Wales                                   123,643
  • North East                            88,980
  • London                                 46,284

Source: Ofgem, Feed-in Tariff Installation Report 31 March 2015

 –       The London Assembly Environment Committee’s 2014 report on the Mayor’s failure to hit carbon reduction targets is available here.

 –       The April 2015 DECC Public attitudes survey showing 81% support for solar energy is available here.

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