The Government is to spend millions on a national energy efficiency programme targeting public sector buildings over the next five years, which could include solar installations.

Announced as part of yesterday's Spending Review, the government has pledged to provide £295 million by 2020 to improve schools, hospitals and other buildings owned by the government.

While details have yet to emerge on how much of this money will be spent each year to 2020, the promise equals a commitment of around £59 million per year to improve the energy performance of public buildings.

Solar has long been considered as an ideal technology for use on public estate, particularly on energy-intensive buildings such as hospitals, while schools are considered ideal because of how their typical demand profile coincides with when PV is most productive.

There have been many drives to stimulate the adoption of solar schools. London in particular has been of interest for many campaigners and Green Party London Assembly member Jenny Jones has previously bemoaned the lack of solar adoption on schools in London's borders.

The government also has established plans to install up to 1GW of solar on the public estate. A freedom of information request filed by Solar Power Portal in October revealed that no progress had been made on the Cabinet Office's plans to date, however several projects – including those on hospitals and prisons – are understood to be in the pipeline.

Under rules set by the European Commission, all member states are required to carry out energy efficient renovations on at least 3% of the buildings they own or occupy every year, while new buildings occupied or owned by public authorities will be required to be nearly zero energy by the end of 2018.

At the time of publication, further details had yet to emerge on how the £295 million will be distributed or how it will be spent.