Labour unveils plans to put solar panels on thousands of Chesterfield homes

Labour reckons the plan would see 43,000 square metres of rooftops generating electricity in Chesterfield
Labour reckons the plan would see 43,000 square metres of rooftops generating electricity in Chesterfield

Solar panels would be installed on around 2,200 homes in Chesterfield 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 1 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.

Any unused electricity generated by the programme would be used by the National Grid, which Labour plans to take into public ownership – raising an additional £66 million per year for local authorities.

Social housing makes up 22% of Chesterfield’s 49,000 homes – around 11,000 properties in total.

Labour estimates this means solar panels would be installed at 2,218 properties in the area – roughly 27,000 panels in total, covering 43,000 square metres of rooftops.

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

They also plan to invest £350 million over 15 years on interest free loans, grants and regulatory changes to help an additional 750,000 properties install solar panels.

Labour estimates its policy will create 16,900 jobs and save 7.1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide – equivalent to taking 4 million cars off the UK’s roads.

Mr Corbyn said: "In this country, too often people are made to feel like the cost of saving the planet falls on them.

"Too many think of green measures as just another way for companies or the Government to get money out of them, while the rich fly about in private jets and heat their empty mansions.

"Labour's approach is different. Our green industrial revolution will benefit working class people with cheaper energy bills, more rewarding, well-paid jobs, and new industries to revive the parts of our country that have been held back for far too long.

"By focusing on low-income households we will reduce fuel poverty and increase support for renewable energy."

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."