Sian Berry launches solar energy scheme at North London small business centre as government prepares to pull the plug on renewables subsidies

23 October 2015

Sian Berry, the Green candidate for Mayor of London, on Friday launches a solar energy system installed on the roof of the Busworks business centre in Holloway. The system will provide renewable electricity to power the businesses inside the building and recharge electric cars in the car park.

The launch event coincides with the last day of the government’s consultation on its proposed massive cuts to renewable energy subsidies.

These payment reductions, which threaten to devastate the growing solar energy industry, have drawn near universal criticism, including from within the Conservative Party and from the Confederation of British Industry.

“This initiative at Busworks highlights the vibrant nature of the renewable energy sector, creating thousands of jobs across London and supporting an ecosystem of small companies and exciting technology start-ups,” said Berry.

“But the government’s proposed 87 percent cut to the domestic feed-in tariff for solar energy is a senseless threat to small, medium and large solar companies and co-operatives across the country right at the point when solar power is set to expand hugely.

“This sector could become a successful source of energy security, jobs and profits for all kinds of communities within the next few years. But these government cuts risk bringing this success story to a standstill.”

The solar energy installation at Busworks consists of 183 solar panels fitted to the roof of the building, which will generate over 50,000 kWh of clean solar electricity every year and save 24 tonnes of CO2 emissions. The energy will be used by many of the small businesses within the centre. These include the car-share company Drive Now, which will use the new power source to charge its vehicles. On a good day enough electricity would be generated to charge 10 electric vehicles, giving them enough power to collectively drive over 1000 miles.

Berry added: “Busworks is just the kind of forward-looking business centre that London needs, supporting businesses and entrepreneurs and plugging into the new smart energy future powered by renewables, battery storage and electric vehicles.

“However the government’s failure to protect business space in London from conversion to residential property is putting increasing pressure on supply of affordable office spaces like this for small businesses and entrepreneurs.”

The panels are being installed by Joju Solar, a leading solar installer focused on community energy projects, and recent winner of a prestigious solar industry award. Its London offices are based at Busworks.

“This investment by Busworks will provide over 30 years of clean, renewable energy for its tenants, and others using the National Grid,” said Joju Solar’s Commercial Director Joe Michaels, who set up the company in 2006. “If the government removes the payments made for solar-generated electricity, as it is proposing to do, it will totally undermine the business case that makes it possible for businesses and individuals to invest in their own solar photovoltaic systems.”

He added: “The government’s argument that it is cutting support for solar power to save money for bill payers is a nonsense. Solar adds just £9 a year to bills and is already set to fall to £6 a year before current cuts were announced. At the same time the government is bending over backwards to build a new nuclear power plant that will cost £18 billion and add £13 onto everyone’s electricity bills by the time it is finally completed in almost a decade’s time.”

The solar panels will be launched at the Busworks, 39-41 North Road, London N7 9DP at 10 am on Friday 23 October. Photographers are welcome to attend.

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