The plans involve turning the government estate as well as factories, supermarkets and car parks into ‘solar hubs’. The plan has the potential to support tens of thousands of jobs, said energy minister Greg Barker.
“We have put ourselves among the world leaders on solar and this ambitious strategy will place us right at the cutting edge,” he said. “There is massive potential to turn our large buildings into power stations and we must seize the opportunity this offers to boost our economy as part of our long term economic plan.
“Solar not only benefits the environment, it will see British job creation and deliver the clean and reliable energy supplies that the country needs at the lowest possible cost to consumers.”
He said that the aim is to move the emphasis for growth away from large solar farms and instead focus on opening up the solar market for the UK’s estimated 250,000 hectares of south facing commercial rooftops. “Solar increasingly offers efficient and cost effective onsite generation opportunities to both businesses and domestic consumers, and our strategy makes a step change in our ambition for both as a means to generate renewable energy,” he said.
In a further initiative, the Department for Education is working on ways to improve energy efficiency across the 22,000 schools in England, to reduce their annual energy spend of £500 million. The initiative will encourage the deployment of PV on schools alongside promoting energy efficiency.
Over half a million buildings already use solar.