Solar Action Plan for London
Mayor of London
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The Mayor wants to make London a zero carbon city, as set out in his Environment Strategy. For this to happen, London will need to be supplied by a range of efficient and clean energy sources. Energy generated from solar technologies will be part of this mix and London is aiming for two gigawatts of installed solar energy capacity by 2050. This action plan, the first of its kind for London, establishes how the Mayor will seize the opportunity for solar energy (box 1) in the capital and increase deployment in the coming years.
In the past decade, the UK has seen a dramatic increase in the number of solar energy installations. Despite recent setbacks, solar energy generation is set to grow further. Solar technologies are versatile and can be installed in a wide range of locations and sizes. These include domestic and commercial buildings and, where appropriate, large installations on the ground. Solar energy projects can be developed and installed very quickly, and the fuel - solar radiation - costs nothing and is pollution-free. However, London lags behind the rest of the country in realising the benefits of both solar photovoltaics and solar thermal technologies and there is a significant opportunity for London to increase its uptake from today’s low levels.
Realising London’s solar energy potential requires a buoyant and expanding solar energy industry. This will further bring down the costs of solar energy technologies and ensure they become competitive with fossil fuel based generation and other low carbon energy sources in the near future. Combining solar energy generation technologies with energy storage technologies (like batteries) enables onsite use of heat or power to meet demand at any time of day. It is therefore important that London maximises the potential for solar energy storage as technology costs continue to fall.
This plan sets out a range of actions to realise London’s solar potential as part of the Mayor’s Energy for Londoners (EfL) programme. EfL aims to make London’s homes warm, healthy and affordable, its workplaces more energy efficient, and to supply the capital with more local clean energy.
To meet the zero carbon target, London will require significantly more solar energy generation to be installed: two gigawatts (GW) by 2050. The Mayor has therefore set an ambition for London to achieve 1 GW of installed capacity by 2030, ten times more than today’s levels, and 2 GW by 2050. This can’t be achieved through the Mayor’s leadership and programmes alone. It will need strong and supportive policy from national government, and the support of local government, the private sector, charities, and individuals. To play his part, the Mayor has set a target for his own programmes to almost double London’s current installed capacity, installing an additional 100 megawatts (MW) by 2030.