Sadiq Khan gives solar priority in draft London Plan

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Published: 30 Nov 2017, 12:10

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All London boroughs are to ensure that all developments “maximise the opportunities for on-site electricity” from solar in the latest move by mayor Sadiq Khan to promote the technology.

Khan was elected on a pledge to expand the use of solar across the city and following the launch of the community energy fund for solar projects last month, the new draft London Plan outlines a series of policies designed to boost the deployment and efficacy of solar in the capital.

New proposals include ensuring that all London boroughs “maximise opportunities for on-site electricity and heat production from solar technologies (photovoltaic and thermal)”.

In the absence of mentions of other specific technologies, the Mayor’s office is placing solar front and centre in its plans for renewable energy generation, stating this approach will reduce carbon emissions, reduce energy costs to occupants, improve London’s energy resilience and support the growth of green jobs.

The use of solar will be supported by a net zero-carbon target for new developments, meaning reducing carbon dioxide emissions from construction and operation, and minimising both annual and peak energy demand in accordance with the following energy hierarchy:

  1. Be lean: use less energy and manage demand during construction and operation.
  2. Be clean: exploit local energy resources (such as secondary heat) and supply energy efficiently and cleanly. Development in Heat Network Priority Areas should follow the heating hierarchy in Policy SI3 Energy infrastructure.
  3. Be green: generate, store and use renewable energy on-site.

Boroughs will also have to establish and administer a carbon offset fund, the payments of which must be ring-fenced to implement projects that deliver greenhouse gas reductions.

A long running problem for solar in London is also seeking to be addressed by the draft plan, namely the shadows cast by the city’s ever changing skyline on existing or planned solar developments. To combat this issue, tall buildings should be planned to “avoid a significant detrimental effect on solar energy generation on adjoining buildings”.

The consultation on the new Draft London Plan begins on Friday 1 December and will remain open until Friday 2 March 2018. Its policies follow those of the solar, transport and environmental strategies which are all geared towards making London a zero carbon city by 2050.

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