I’m delighted to reveal Labour’s exciting plans to radically reduce energy bills by installing solar panels on nearly two million homes. Social housing and low-income households will have electricity-generating solar panels installed providing free energy and saving an average of £117 a year on bills. This could rise to £270 for retired households. Any unused electricity generated by the programme will be used by the national grid, which Labour will take into public ownership, raising an additional £66m per year for local authorities.
Labour will enable the installation of solar panels on an additional 750,000 homes through a programme of interest free loans, grants and changes to regulations.
This policy, part of our Green Industrial Revolution will create 16,900 jobs and save 7.1 million tonnes of CO2 – the equivalent of taking 4 million cars off the UK’s roads.
These are bold, yet achievable plans that will benefit low income households by reducing fuel poverty and increasing 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.
Under the Tories, the Solar Trade Association says new installations of solar PV have fallen by 90% since 2016. We believe this alone demonstrates the Conservatives lack of vision, understanding and interest in protecting the environment.
Labour on the other hand, has committed to achieving at least 60% of the UK’s electricity and heat from renewable and low carbon sources by 2030. We’ll bring the grid back into public ownership and replace existing private monopolies with publicly owned and locally run institution.
Our Green Industrial Revolution in housing, transport and industry will create 400 thousand jobs. We’ll tackle climate change by supporting the development of tidal lagoons and the offshore wind industry, introduce a new Clean Air Act, expand the provision of public transport and cycling lanes and initiate a large tree planting programme, working with farmers and foresters to promote biodiversity and better flood prevention.
As the proverb goes, ‘the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.’ We don’t have time to waste. We have to act now.