A new centre of excellence, a partnership to bring together social landlords and building firms and a new investment in the solar workforce have been unveiled today (2 June).
These are all designed to support the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s declaration of a “retrofit revolution”, with virtually all of of the capital’s homes and workplaces requiring some form of retrofitting over the next decade as they are responsible for 78% of its carbon emissions.
Backed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Mayor has therefore announced the creation a national retrofit centre of excellence in the city. This will help social housing providers gain access to funding for major retrofit projects, as well as supporting providers in developing plans to improve their chances of being successful through the next round of the £160 million Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund.
New training for the city’s solar workforce is also being launched in collaboration with trade body Solar Energy UK, focused on battery storage, electric vehicle (EV) charging and related smart tech.
The programme – dubbed Solar Skills London – also includes a placement to get trainees into solar businesses and targeted grant schemes to deliver training to staff at 100 solar installation companies in the city. It is hoped it will enable Londoners to learn more about solar technologies and help to create more green jobs.
Lastly, the Mayor announced an Innovation Partnership designed to make it easier for social landlords and UK building firms to work together to upgrade aging homes. It will link the two together through all stages of home retrofitting, from planning through to large-scale delivery.
This partnership has a potential value of £10 billion in retrofit works, which could create around 150,000 jobs over the decade. It is open to social housing providers across the UK, with at least £5 billion of the funding estimated to be spent in London.
These measures form part of the city’s Green New Deal mission, which was announced in November 2020 along with a £10 million investment to help fund areas such as the fourth phase of the London Community Energy Fund project as well as the Old Oak and Park Royal Solar PV programme and the Solar Together London group-buying scheme.
Other areas being supported by the mission included green transport, energy efficiency programmes and green foundations groups Advance London and Better Future, which are designed to support the growth of new and existing business in the green economy.
This follows the Mayor announcing £1.5 billion for infrastructure projects to kickstart the capital’s COVID-19 recovery in July of the same year, with this funding earmarked for projects designed to help support decarbonisation and create jobs, including ensuring the electricity infrastructure can support the electric vehicle rollout.
It is “vital” that London leads the way, Khan said, with the new measures to support Londoners with the skills needed for jobs in the green economy to help rebuild the city after COVID-19 “so that it’s cleaner, greener and fairer”.