Labour has pledged to install solar panels on nearly two million social homes.
Jeremy Corbyn, the party’s leader is setting out the plans with shadow business and energy secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey at an event in Yorkshire today (16 May).
It will also see the official launch of the party’s controversial plans to renationalise the energy transmission and distribution networks.
The party is planning to fit solar panels on a million social homes and those lived in by low-income households.
These photovoltaic (PV) installations will be delivered as part of its retrofit and Decent Homes 2 programmes.
In addition, Labour has promised to enable the installation of solar panels on a further 750,000 homes through a programme of interest free loans, grants and changes to regulations.
Labour claims that the provision of free electricity could save households an average of £117 a year on their energy bills, which could rise to £270 for retired households who spend a bigger proportion of the day at home.
Any unused electricity generated by the programme will be exported back to the National Grid, which Labour is planning to take back into public ownership.
Labour estimates the solar panel rollout will save 7.1 million tonnes of CO2 on the basis that the average PV installation will generate 828KWh per year at a CO2 intensity of 40gCO2, six times lower than that of the energy it is displacing from the grid.
The PV programme will also create nearly 17,000 jobs and contribute to Labour’s target that 60 per cent of UK energy should be derived from low carbon sources by 2030.
Corbyn said: “In this country, too often people are made to feel like the cost of saving the planet falls on them. Too many think of green measures as just another way for companies or the government to get money out of them, while the rich fly about in private jets and heat their empty mansions.
“By focusing on low income households we will reduce fuel poverty and increase support for renewable energy. Social justice and climate justice as one. Environmental destruction and inequality not only can but must be tackled at the same time.”
Labour’s move was welcomed by Léonie Greene, director of advocacy and new markets at the Solar Trade Association.
She said: “We are particularly pleased to see Labour’s focus on social housing, since solar can save households potentially hundreds of pounds off their energy bills. Current policies deter those who need solar the most from accessing it, which is a great shame.
“We are also pleased to see a clear acceptance that solar must be treated fairly, both in terms of complex new network charging regulations and ensuring fair market payments for the smallest generators. At a minimum, governments really must provide a level playing-field to enable popular and cheap technologies like solar to thrive.”
Labour’s announcement follows hot on the heels of figures showing that this week’s sunny conditions have enabled solar generation to hit a record peak of 9.55GW.