Thousands of Wigan homes could get solar panels under new Labour Party plan

Solar panels would be installed on around 5,200 homes in Wigan under new plans announced by the Labour Party.

Friday, 17th May 2019, 8:56 am
Updated Friday, 17th May 2019, 9:56 am
A solar farm

Party leader Jeremy Corbyn says the policy could relieve pressure on low-income families while supporting new industries in neglected parts of the country.

Other news: Body cameras for town hall staff being considered to clamp down on fly-tippingUnder plans announced by Mr Corbyn and Rebecca Long Bailey, the shadow business, energy and industrial strategy secretary, a Labour government would fit one 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.

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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 £66m per year for local authorities.

Social housing makes up 18 per cent of Wigan’s 144,000 homes – around 26,000 properties in total. Labour estimates this means solar panels would be installed at 5,210 properties in the area – roughly 63,000 panels in total, covering 100,000m sq of rooftops.

The policy, which would be funded as part of Labour’s National Transformation Fund, would cost an estimated £2.14bn, the party said. They also plan to invest £350m 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.

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. Current policies deter those who need solar the most from accessing it, which is a great shame.”