The Conservative party is “strongly committed” to solar and is excited about its potential for the future, minister of state for energy Matthew Hancock has said.

Speaking today at an event held at solar developer Lightsource’s London headquarters, Hancock said he was an “enormous optimist for the future of solar in the UK” and defended his party’s commitment to the technology.

The Conservative party manifesto for next month’s general election failed to mention solar once, prompting a strong backlash from industry bodies and environmental groups to label the manifesto as being “anti-green growth and anti-clean energy”.

But speaking to Solar Power Portal this morning, Hancock said that a future Conservative government would be a “strong supporter” of solar PV.

“We’re strongly committed to solar and especially rooftop solar. There’s now a million people living under roofs with solar panels and we’re very proud of that record, and we’re proud that almost all of the UK’s solar has been built under a Conservative-led government. This has huge potential for the future.

“A future Conservative government is a strong supporter of solar on roofs, solar where planning allows it on the ground, both commercial and residential,” Hancock said.

Hancock also said that there would remain “great short-term policy support” and heralded the long-term direction of UK solar as “very exciting”.

“I hope we get to a position shortly where we can really unleash this solar revolution and make the world a better place as a result,” he added.