Election 2019: Labour Pledges to Install Solar Panels on 2,000 Community Buildings

Labour would install solar panels on 2,000 libraries and community centres across the country, making them “greener and cheaper to run.”

These solar panels would save community buildings an average of £3,000 a year on their electricity bills and allow them to export energy to the grid, generating an additional £1,080 in income each year.

Using electricity generated renewably, on-site by the panels would also reduce emissions by 16,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, the equivalent of taking 9,000 cars off the road.

Altogether, the participating public facilities will be £8.2 million better off each year.

The scheme would therefore pay for itself within seven years and within 15 years, community buildings will have saved £90 million on energy bills.

The party wants its green industrial revolution to “benefit every community,” Rebecca Long- Bailey, Shadow Secretary for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said.

The community spaces, powered by solar panels, would also be used by Labour’s proposed regional energy agencies as “solar power hubs,” to educate and encourage the community to participate in decarbonisation.

“Dedicated outreach teams in every community will provide information on how people can benefit from home upgrades to make them warmer and cheaper to run, and how they can access the hundreds of thousands of new green jobs and training opportunities we are creating,” Long-Bailey said.

Andrew Gwynne, Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary, said: “Sharing information in our libraries, community centres and one stop shops on how residents can access Labour’s green industrial revolution will reinvigorate our community buildings, making them hubs of the future.”

The Labour Party has said that the Conservatives are neglecting solar and other renewable sources of power, pointing to the closure of the feed-in tariff scheme in April.

Following the closure of the scheme, solar panel installations on homes dropped by 98% compared to the same period in 2015.

Labour’s calculations suggest that the UK needs to triple its solar power capacity, to 35GW, to meet its goal of net-zero emissions by 2030. Of that 35GW capacity, 4.5GW would come from small-scale installations, such as on homes and community buildings, and the remainder from large-scale installations.

The Conservatives have yet to announce any plans for solar power. The Liberal Democrats have pledged to double solar power capacity by 2030, to meet a goal of generating 80% of the UK’s electricity with wind and solar power by that date. The Green Party wants to invest £100 million a year in climate action, including a rollout of renewables, with the goal of hitting net zero by the end of the decade.

Lauren Smith
Written by Lauren Smith

Lauren Smith has worked as a journalist and copywriter for most of the last decade, covering technology, energy, and consumer rights, in the US and UK.

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