Green Party London Assembly member Jenny Jones has slammed the Conservative government’s renewable energy subsidy regime as “chaotic and unpredictable” as figures revealed large variations in solar deployment across the capital.
Figures released by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) revealed that while there have been more than 16,000 solar installations in London to date, just 5% (872) of installations have been on commercial or other non-domestic rooftops.
The statistics also show huge variations in the uptake of solar PV from borough to borough. While a total of 85 non-domestic solar installations have been made in Bexley, just four have been installed in Kensington and Chelsea.
Jones said this variation has been caused by a lack of “support and encouragement” from the government, Mayor of London Boris Johnson and other public bodies, claiming that many businesses in the capital have “huge empty rooftops ready and waiting to generate clean free electricity”.
Jones also slammed recent policy decisions made by the government which she labelled “chaotic and unpredictable” and said were “stifling and undermining its [solar’s] growth”.
“It’s becoming increasingly clear that the government is determined to cool this market and to clear a path for nuclear and fracking that no one wants.
“This is cynical and reckless. We are running out of time to secure the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that are needed to prevent irreversible runaway climate change and the rapid switch that is needed to clean renewable such as solar, wind and tidal,” Jones said.
Jones’ criticism comes less than a week after the Solar Trade Association lamented the “underperforming” commercial rooftop market after DECC figures showed just 21MW of installations above 50kW in size were installed in Q2 2015, prompting the trade body to urge the government to remove barriers to deployment.
Last week DECC announced proposals to close Renewables Obligation support for sub-5MW projects a year earlier than planned, confirmed the feed-in tariff faced “further cost-cutting measures” and culled the Green Deal, contributing to a particularly devastating week for the UK renewables sector which attracted considerable criticism.