Potential Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has backed the widespread deployment of solar PV in the UK, but expressed concern about its use on high-grade agricultural land.

In an interview with Greenpeace’s Energy Desk published this morning, Corbyn criticised the country’s “strange” post-war energy market created by former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s privatisation of the National Grid and said he would support far more distributed generation in the UK.

But while confirming that he does support the UK’s onshore wind and solar industries, Corbyn did express concern about ground-mounted solar farms using arable land and said he would favour far more rooftop deployment in the UK.

“I’m in favour of the highest possible use of PV to generate electricity, but I find it rather sad when I see farmland being taken over to be given to solar energy generation, thus using crop space or grazing space, while nearby there’s acres and acres of roofs and warehouses and other things not being used for generation.

“Every new building should essentially be covered in PV cells. It’s a question of funding that through national investment strategies through the green energy bank,” Corbyn said.

Such a policy would ape legislation passed in France earlier this year that mandated the roof of every new commercial or industrial building to be covered in either solar PV cells or a green roof. While there are no known plans to introduce similar legislation in the UK, an equivalent policy was also backed by Green Party London Assembly Member Jenny Jones when interviewed by Solar Power Portal last week.

Corbyn also provided insight into what his national energy structure would look like, which would include the renationalisation of the National Grid, reduced power of the Big Six energy firms and a much stronger focus on local generation.

But while Corbyn did talk expressively about bringing much more of the UK’s energy infrastructure under public ownership, he said doing the same with energy generation would be “impossible” if it was to include hundreds of thousands of homes with solar PV installations.

Despite starting out as rank outsider, support for Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign has surged in recent weeks and the left-leaning candidate is now favourite to be elected leader of the opposition when Labour Party members take to the polls in September.