Thank you for contacting me about rooftop solar.
I agree that, where appropriate, solar panels can put unused roof space to good use and are an important technology in helping to reduce carbon emissions. I would like to assure you that the Government is committed to widespread deployment of rooftop solar.
I understand that the Government’s ambition for 70 gigawatts of solar capacity by 2035 will require a significant increase in both ground-mount and rooftop solar. Ministers have been clear that the extensive deployment of rooftop solar on domestic, industrial and commercial property to make effective use of available surfaces is a priority.
You may be interested to know that 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. I look forward to reading the consultation outcome.
While I share your view that rooftop solar has an important role to play in helping us decarbonise the power sector, 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. To help households who would like to install solar panels, VAT has been cut on energy saving materials. In addition, the Government has set out plans to significantly reduce energy use in new homes and new non-domestic buildings from 2025. As a first step towards this standard, an interim uplift to energy efficiency requirements is in force and the Government anticipates most developers will comply with the requirements by installing solar panels on new buildings.
I have been assured that the Solar Taskforce will focus on further measures to unlock the potential of rooftop solar.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP