Rudd promises more solar announcements to come

Amber Rudd has said the Government will be making an announcement next month about solar panels on council properties and other public buildings.

The Energy Secretary speaking in Parliament on 19 November, after being quizzed by Labour MP Daniel Zeichner.

Mr Zeichner said Cambridge City Council recently had to cancel plans to put solar panels on 1,000 homes after DECC announced changes to renewable energy subsidies.

“The particular issue of solar on public houses will form part of the consultation, and I will be making further announcements in December,” responded Ms Rudd.

Later on, during the same debate, Energy Minsiter Andrea Leadsom was quizzed by another Labour MP, Graham Allen, on what steps DECC was taking to encourage schools to invest in solar energy.

“We encourage deployment through the financial incentive of the Feed-In-Tariff, but discussions are always ongoing with other Departments on what more can be done to help schools invest in solar,” replied Ms Leadsom.

But Mr Allen then reminded the Minister about Government restrictions on allowing schools to borrow to invest in renewable energy.

“One school, Wilmslow High, wants to do this, and its local MP, a Mr George Osborne, has said: ‘I am happy to support you wherever I can’, but he is awaiting a reply from the Department of Energy and Climate Change,” said Mr Allen.

“Will the Department reply to the local MP so that he can make representations to himself as Chancellor and end these ridiculous rules?”

But the Minister replied: “Restrictions on school borrowing are necessary, however, to protect public sector accounts. School borrowing contributes to public sector net debt and borrowing—two important fiscal measurements that we must control in order to bring down the national deficit and retain economic confidence—which is why we have no plans to lift restrictions on borrowing.”

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government, transport and energy issues