The Government is committed to widespread deployment of rooftop solar and has established a Solar Taskforce to help meet its ambition for a fivefold increase in solar by 2035.
I believe solar has an important role to play in helping us decarbonise the power sector however, it is worth noting that the suitability of solar panels on rooftops is limited by the type of building and its location around the country. Some roofs are not suitable for solar panels due to structural strength or the direction of the building. I therefore support the approach taken by the Government through minimum energy performance standards for new homes which do not prescribe the technologies, materials or fuels to be used. This offers builders and homeowners the flexibility to innovate and select the most practical and cost-effective solutions in individual circumstances.
You may be interested to know that the Government has set out plans to introduce a Future Homes Standard which would significantly reduce carbon emissions and energy use in new homes from 2025, including using solar panels, while improving energy efficiency. As a first step towards this standard, an interim uplift to energy efficiency requirements came into force last year. While the approach to achieving these higher standards remains technology-neutral, I understand that the Government anticipates that most developers will comply with these requirements by installing solar panels on new homes or using other low-carbon technology such as heat pumps.
To support more households to install solar panels, permitted development rights are in place, meaning that solar panels can be installed without the need for full planning permission (subject to certain conditions). In addition, VAT has been cut on energy saving materials, including solar panels. For a typical family fitting roof top solar panels, this will save more than £1,000 in total on installation, on top of around £300 in annual savings on their energy bills.
Finally, the Government held a consultation seeking views on simplifying planning for installing rooftop solar. This includes proposals for a new permitted development right which would enable the construction of solar canopies in ground-level non-domestic car parks without a full planning application. In addition, the Government is seeking to bring more properties into scope of existing permitted development rights to install rooftop solar panels on domestic and non-domestic buildings. Further information about the consultation can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/permitted-development-rights-supporting-temporary-recreational-campsites-renewable-energy-and-film-making-consultation/permitted-development-rights-supporting-temporary-recreational-campsites-renewable-energy-and-film-making-consultation I look forward to reading the consultation outcome.
I do hope that this response has highlighted a firm commitment across Government to increase rooftop solar across the country.