Mayor of London candidate Zac Goldsmith unveils solar pledge

Conservative MP and candidate to replace Boris Johnson as London mayor Zac Goldsmith has unveiled a raft of pledges to support solar PV.

Goldsmith has pledged to support the wider deployment of solar within the capital, particularly on schools and new-building housing developments. Launching his election promise this morning, Goldsmith noted that less than 1% of London’s energy is currently derived from solar, far below estimates published by IPPR that London could derive as much as 20%.

Should Goldsmith be elected in May, the next tranche of the capital’s £150 million Green London Fund would be used to finance a ‘Solar for Schools’ programme designed specifically to help support schools wishing to adopt solar PV.

While a third of schools in Goldsmith’s Richmond constituency have a rooftop solar installation, deployment in other London boroughs is substantially below the national average. London’s flailing solar market has been the subject of much discussion with a number of critics pointing towards complicated ownership issues and a lack of suitable rooftops.

Goldsmith has also pledged to work extensively alongside developers of new buildings in the capital to ensure as many incorporate solar into designs, while Transport for London will be made to use locally-generated renewables wherever possible.

His Labour rival for the mayoralty Sadiq Khan has also pledged to pressurise TfL into adopting renewable energy. He wishes to establish a land audit of TfL to map available land for solar generation while also launching a feasibility study to reduce the body’s energy consumptions.

“Solar is becoming more efficient by the day, and for reasons we all now know well – from climate change to energy security, from clean air to supporting new businesses, I will do everything in my power to support London’s clean energy revolution.

"This will mean lower energy bills for individuals and businesses, while creating a cleaner living environment for everyone who lives and works in Greater London."

In October last year the Greater London Authority issued a report proposing several ways in which London could tackle below-average solar deployment, most notably calling for more stable policy support and changes to planning policy.

The report is to feed into the upcoming publication of a ‘London Energy Plan’, which the GLA said at the time must set out ways to increase PV.

Goldsmith is currently second-favourite to become the next mayor, with Khan the odds-on leader.