The Department of Energy and Climate Change has announced plans to turn areas of Britain in to solar estates in order to increase the number of low carbon technologies.
According to the proposals announced by the Energy Minister Greg Barker, Government estate property, factories, supermarkets and car parks are going to be turned into solar hubs.
Mr Barker announced the plans as part of the new solar strategy that has been announced by the Government. The initiative is the only one in the UK; the Government has a vision of using solar power to generate 1000s of jobs as solar energy is more widely used throughout the country.
The Solar Strategy was launched at SunSolar Energy in Birmingham in early April. Speaking at the event, Energy Minister Greg Barker said:
“We have put ourselves among the world leaders on solar and this ambitious Strategy will place us right at the cutting edge.
“There is massive potential to turn our large buildings into power stations and we must seize the opportunity this offers to boost our economy as part of our long term economic plan.
“Solar not only benefits the environment, it will see British job creation and deliver the clean and reliable energy supplies that the country needs at the lowest possible cost to consumers.”
It was announced that the government wants to see a move away from the large solar farms and instead concentrate on using the UK’s south-facing commercial rooftops; the Government estimates that there are 250,000 hectares of these in the UK.
Minsters hope that the use of widespread solar power will give consumers more options and will offer energy at a fairer price; the Government has said that it is “to lead by example” by using some of the Government estate to begin implementing the newly announced Solar Strategy.
In a separate announcement, the Government also said that there was a plan to introduce solar power into schools as a way of improving energy efficiency. There are 22,000 schools in England and the annual bill for heating them is said to cost 500 million. The Government will use its estate and brown field sites as power stations by installing solar power.
Commenting on the new initiative for schools, Education Secretary Michael Gove said:
“Solar panels are a sensible choice for schools, particularly in terms of the financial benefits they can bring. It is also a great way for pupils to engage with environmental issues and think about where energy comes from.”