Labour unveils plan to install thousands of solar panels on Redbridge homes

PUBLISHED: 12:30 20 May 2019

Solar panels catching the sun's energy to heat up an east London housing estate. Picture: Poplar Harca

Solar panels catching the sun's energy to heat up an east London housing estate. Picture: Poplar Harca

Poplar Harca Housing

Solar panels would be installed on around 1,900 homes in Redbridge under new plans announced by the Labour Party.

Party leader Jeremy Corbyn says the policy could relieve pressure on low-income families while supporting new industries in neglected parts of the country.

Under plans announced by Mr Corbyn and Rebecca Long Bailey, the shadow business, energy and industrial strategy secretary, a Labour government would fit one million social properties and homes of low-income families across the UK with solar panels.

The party says the move will help to tackle fuel poverty, providing households with free energy and saving them an average of £117 a year on bills, rising to £270 for retired households.

Social housing makes up 9per cent of Redbridge's 103,000 homes - around 9,400 properties in total.

Labour estimates this means solar panels would be installed at 1,901 properties in the area - roughly 23,000 panels in total, covering 36,000 square metres of rooftops.

The policy, which would be funded as part of Labour's National Transformation Fund, would cost an estimated £2.14billion, the party said.

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Labour estimates its policy will create 16,900 jobs and save 7.1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide - equivalent to taking four million cars off the UK's roads.

Andrew Johns, member of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party, said: "It's great that other parties are acknowledging that we must accelerate rolling out green solutions to tackle the climate emergency.

"It's why we back the Green New Deal, to counter a growing environmental and economic catastrophe that will affect many people in Redbridge, particularly low-income families. This announcement is a good start, but we need to set our targets even higher."

Leonie Greene, from the Solar Trade Association, said: "All modern political parties must think big when it comes to empowering people to act on the biggest issue of our times - climate change.

"The solar industry would relish scaling up rapidly to deliver on these commendable ambitions which would see deployment rates double compared to the past decade.

"A solar homes push would give a tremendous boost to green jobs across the UK, which are good quality and local in nature.

"We are particularly pleased to see Labour's focus on social housing, since solar can save households potentially hundreds of pounds off their energy bills.

"Current policies deter those who need solar the most from accessing it, which is a great shame."

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