What Will Happen to Solar with a New Government

With a General Election required no later than 28th January 2025, current predictions are that we will see the ballot boxes swing into action in the autumn.

Of course we’re really interested in seeing what the big political parties are saying about renewable energy, and what their intentions and policies are as we all try to find a more renewable way of powering our homes, transport, and businesses.

Conservative Party

The most predictable party, is the Conservatives as they’re currently in power. The current UK Government has set a legally binding target to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 100% by 2050 – this is known as “net zero”. Arguably the least environmentally conscious party to choose from, we can see from their intentions that if the Conservatives are pushing renewable energy then we can accurately predict Labour and the Lib Dems will do the same, if not more ferociously.

There are currently three domestic Government schemes in place to help you buy solar panels:

The Energy Company Obligation scheme (ECO4): funding for energy efficient retrofits to fuel-poor households, or ones with occupants on certain benefits.

ECO Flex: part of ECO4, extends eligibility criteria to households referred to the scheme by their local authorities or energy supplier.

The Home Upgrade Grant: up to £10,000 in funding for households not connected to the gas grid in 45 select local authorities in England.

The only government scheme we know to be widely available, the Energy Bill Discount Scheme ends in March 2024. We still don’t know what will, if anything, replace it.

There are options for businesses to take the power into your own hands, literally. A Power Purchase Agreement is available to select businesses who use large amount of electricity and have a suitable roof, and fit the open requirements. Otherwise, there are finance options available for businesses that don’t want, or don’t fit the requirements of a Power Purchase Agreement.

Labour Party

Clean Energy forms one of the Labour Party’s current five core missions. With a pledge to achieve Clean Power by 2030, Labour intends to more than triple solar power to 50GW. In October 2023, Ed Miliband MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero stated that GB Energy will invest £1 billion a year to develop local, renewable power owned by local people.

That said, in the run up to the election the Leader of the Opposition Keir Starmer stated they intended to scrap plans to spend £28bn a year on environmental schemes.

Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats are pledging to boost renewable energy by increasing funding for wind, solar and marine power, and removing the Conservatives’ restrictions on new schemes.

The party are also asking the current Government to remove restrictions on new solar and wind projects to accelerate the deployment of renewable power.

The Green Party

Unsurprisingly, the Green Party have a number of intentions in their policy documents with regards to renewable energy, including:

  • Central and local government will collaborate in developing energy plans in consultation with local communities and businesses, setting energy and emission targets for buildings, industry, and transport to encourage very low carbon energy use.
  • Continuity of supply will be ensured by using the UK’s renewable energy sources and a variety of storage technologies, links to other countries’ grids and minimal use of natural gas to balance demand and supply, and consistent with meeting demand in real-time. Surplus electricity will be transformed into heat and gas and stored (power to gas) or exported.
  • Large-scale refurbishment programmes will be carried out to greatly increase the energy efficiency of existing buildings.
  • Heating of buildings will be transformed by the use of solar thermal, heat pumps, biofuels, stored heat, hydrogen and relevant derived synthetic fuels, electricity and geothermal. The use of natural gas for heating will be phased out entirely.

And perhaps most interestingly for business-owners: –

  • Change to low carbon energy processes will be encouraged by incentives to avoid long-term lock-in of high-carbon technologies.

As the year develops we can be sure that all parties will start sharing their election manifestos and we can be certain that, although we can’t predict the details, solar energy as part of wider measures to target climate change and combat the ever increasing cost-of-living will feature heavily.

It’s a good idea to keep abreast of developments with the political parties, and their intentions to the long-term future of the country. Sharpen your pencils, and vote for what matters most to you.

It’s a long shot, but good luck Green Party!

Read more about commercial solar panels

Read more about power purchase agreement

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