Tuesday, 03 March 2015

MP calls for compulsory solar panels on new homes

The Conservative MP for Carlisle has called for the fitting of solar panels to be compulsory on all new build homes.

John Stevenson asked communities minister Andrew Stunell if he would introduce the requirement as part of changes to building regulations during Communities and Local Government department questions on Monday.

Mr Stunell said proposals in the consultation on the latest regulations ‘will go a long way towards what he is seeking to achieve’.

The consultation on Part L of the building regulations, which covers conservation of fuel and power, requires landlords carrying out extensions or improvements to homes to undertake energy efficiency work.

However it also proposes cutting a 2013 carbon reduction target for new homes from 25 per cent on 2002 levels to just 8 per cent.

The consultation closes on 27 March.

Inside Housing is conducting a survey of energy efficiency measures with Willmott Dixon. Take part to have a chance of winning £500 of Marks & Spencer vouchers.

Readers' comments (14)

  • Rick Campbell

    The man's an out and out eejit -- not all roofs will be facing the optimum direction.

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  • Arthur Brown

    Rick. If they are on new houses then they could be built the right way round.

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  • Rick Campbell

    That would mean that all houses would be facing the same direction -- not a realistic prospect and there will be natural or built obstacles preventing the required amount of sunlight.

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  • To be honest, they only really need to be facing up and they'll be alright. PVs are basically compulsory for all affordable new builds anyway as a result of the Code for sustainable homes. Nothing to see here, move along.

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  • Rick Campbell

    That's an interesting point Sancho ...

    I was under the impression that the efficacy of solar panels was determined by the direction they faced and whether there was unimpeded access to sunlight.

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  • Rick, in part your right, if the panels move with the sun (as they do in the big solar energy farms) the the most energy can be gleaned. Obviously this kind of tech is too expensive to have in every new build. Solar panels continue to produce energy from light even if they don't track the path of the sun. I hope that the consultation process produces some recommendations including the more common sense principles such as prioritizing all south facing slope roofs, ensuring that the most efficient system is used (such as monocrystalline, polycrystalline or thin film) and that appropriate power optimizers are installed to gain the most value.  Surely that's the point of a consultation?

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  • I really also wanted to say that although some developers find the National Standard constraining, most buyers like the idea. I think as time goes on and as tech options develop (and become cheaper, more efficient and with more choice about what options suit different designs or locations) some currently unviable options might become the norm with roofs designed to be a single south facing slope, having no pitch, with their entire surface able to support a home and possibly put energy back into the grid. energy. I recall 30 years ago in my old primary school doing a project on houses of the future and the roofs on all my and my peers drawings were 100% solar panels. It made sense to children then, the last government thought it made sense and they wrote a Standard and now the Communities Minister is listening to a consultation. At long last!!

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  • Jimmy Cricket

    Do they get sun in Carlise???

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  • living in cloud-cuckoo land - not all houses or roofs fit for solar PV or thermal panel installation, this is still far too expensive for the returns in energy/green house gas emissions avoided.

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  • Its a headline grabbing proposal but the government should be setting a standard for energy efficiency not specifying the technology. Slapping a PV panel on every new home without regard for overall energy effeicency and how they will be used and maintained could be inneffectual. (See Tim Harford's excellent analysis of the impact of the Merton rule.)

    Insisting on a minimum of Code for Sustsainble Homes Level 4 for all new homes would leave the architects to put in the most appropriate solution. Even better the government should be using the tax system (Stamp Duty/Council Tax /New Homes Bonus) to incentivise even greater energy efficiency.

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