Group-buying: London Mayor expands solar scheme after 4,000 sign up to first phase

Mayor Sadiq Khan has expanded a pioneering initiative designed to accelerate the roll out of solar panels across London, signing up a further eight boroughs to the Solar Together scheme.

The scheme allows businesses and residents to register their interest in purchasing solar panels, allowing the boroughs to tender for a bulk order. Announced on Friday, the new recruits take the number of boroughs in the scheme to 12 following a successful trial that saw 4,000 households and residents across four boroughs register their interest earlier this year.

To date more than 1,100 households and businesses have accepted the offer of more affordable solar panels.

The scheme is managed by group buying specialist and iChoosr, while solar developer Solarcentury and IKEA won the contract to deliver the first phase of the scheme, delivering an average saving of 35 per cent on the cost of solar installations.

Camden, Haringey, Havering, Islington, Kensington & Chelsea, Newham, Waltham Forest and Westminster have now joined the scheme alongside Brent, Ealing, Merton and Sutton.

Khan said he was delighted to launch the expanded scheme. “This will offer even more Londoners the opportunity to buy and install solar panels for their homes and small businesses at a significant saving,” he said.Solar offers an increasingly low-cost source of energy for Londoners and we need to speed up its roll out across the capital. City Hall are doing all we can through our new Solar Action Plan but more needs to be done at a national level.”

He added that the UK government should now take urgent steps to “outline the future form of financial support for solar and how it intends to seize the opportunity to provide low-cost, reliable and clean power”.

The current feed-in tariff scheme is expected to close next year and while falling technology costs are making solar projects increasingly attractive the industry remains concerned that without some form of incentive and greater clarity on the role of storage in the market the sector could stall.

Leonie Greene, advocacy and new markets director at the Solar Trade Association, said the group-buying model offered multiple benefits for households, businesses, and the city as a whole. “This fantastic, practical leadership from the Mayor of London, with now over a third of London councils, will enable thousands of savvy Londoners to install high quality solar at a competitive price,” she said. “Solar Together London genuinely empowers Londoners to do their bit to spread solar across the capital’s roofs. This technology is so important to scale up fast if we are to tackle climate change and clean up the air we breathe.”

SOURCE: Business Green