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From promises to panels: SEUK’s view on the party manifestos 

Blog by Aodha O’Carroll; Political & Legislative Adviser at Solar Energy UK.

If you’d believe it, a few manifestos have been published since we published our Solar and Energy Storage Manifesto. And we’ve now seen all parties’ visions for the future, and their pitch to voters.  

The world has vastly changed since 2019, and the parties’ literature reflects the imperative of a secure, homegrown energy supply. 

Solar and Renewables Targets 

In addition to the current government’s commitment to 70GW of solar capacity by 2035, it’s fantastic to see the consensus on accelerating the roll out of renewables, and promoting the benefits they bring. Labour with their goal of trebling solar capacity by 2030, and the Liberal Democrats pursuing 90% renewables by 2030. It was also pleasing to see more mentions of storage, and the vital role it must play in our energy system going forward. 

We welcome this support, but sincerely hope these warm words are backed up by the next government’s actions to remove the barriers to solar, storage and other renewable energy technologies. The appetite for investment is still here, but we mustn’t let it slip through our fingers. 

Planning & Solar Farms 

Planning policy has been at the forefront of the campaign, identified as a key step toward stimulating growth. Both the Conservatives and Labour recognise that the current planning regime is hindering infrastructure and are seeking change.  

The solar industry has had a front-row seat to how inconsistency and unclear policy can bog down development. If the planning system is to be reviewed, it must align the National Policy Statements and the National Planning Policy Framework, to give developers and planning authorities confidence.  

The Conservatives have set a bold target of reducing the time it takes to sign off major projects from four years to one. Speeding up decisions is certainly welcome, provided it also affords developers adequate time for their community engagement. Although we welcome this ambition, it is disappointing to see the manifesto perpetuate the false choice between food and energy security. The Conservative government has a laudable record on deploying renewable energy – we hope they can reconsider this position and embrace solar as a part of this going forward. 

The Labour manifesto proposes an immediate consultation on the NPPF, which could be a fantastic opportunity to bring it into line with the National Policy Statements. Consistency across these central documents is key to bringing clarity to both decision-makers and developers and will help tap into the planning-related growth they’ve identified. 


As well as the Conservatives pledging to implement the recommendations of the Winser Review, the Labour Party has pledged to provide more distributive production capacity through their Local Power Plan, and the Liberal Democrats also back the building of more grid infrastructure.  

Grid will continue to be an issue requiring both industry and political consensus, and we’ll keep working with our peers to this end. Greater access to the grid is key to unlocking greater investment, reducing reliance on international markets, and will ultimately bring energy bills down. 


Domestic and business installations of solar panels are hugely popular. Embracing rooftop solar and domestic storage is a key step in the renewable transition that can save people and businesses money. 

The Conservatives’ manifesto contains a £6bn energy efficiency voucher scheme, Labour are promising a Warm Homes Plan to provide grants and low-interest loans, and the Liberal Democrats want a Home Energy Upgrade programme. Solar and battery storage have a critical role to play in all of these schemes, and the consensus is welcome. 

What’s also needed is to make sure new homes incorporate this technology too – including solar on new builds is more efficient, and it puts savings directly into new homeowners’ pockets. There is less detail on this across the manifestos, but we are pleased to see this in the Liberal Democrats’ and the Green Party’s literature. 


With the number of projects in the pipeline, there’s an opportunity to provide British workers with the skills to create a career in renewables, working on the schemes that will give Britain energy independence, and then open up opportunities around the world, should they wish.  

We believe a network of Green Skills Hubs could play a key role in achieving this, and the Liberal Democrats’ National Colleges suggestion could be a good policy to unlock these new, skilled jobs too. More broadly, the investment suggested by Labour’s British Jobs Bonus is also necessary to help build skills and make sure our industry can allow people to grow green jobs into green careers. 


An awful lot has changed since our last trip to the polling station for a general election. For the most part, our political parties’ platforms reflect the importance of renewables in the solution to the energy crisis, but more detail is needed.  

Polling is clear that renewables are hugely popular – even in the most rural constituencies – and therefore policies aimed at curbing their rollout are likely to bear no electoral reward. The next government has the chance to seize the economic benefit of a clearly popular policy. Regardless of the result, the solar industry will continue to support the UK’s transition to clean, secure energy and we look forward to seeing the next steps on this journey. 

About our Solar & Energy Storage Manifesto: The manifesto outlines five pivotal actions to empower the solar and energy storage industries:

  1. Embrace UK Solar.
  2. Bring the benefits of solar and storage to new homes.
  3. Turbo-charge the network for net zero.
  4. Build skills for British green jobs.
  5. Implement a renewables-first approach to market reform.