Most MPs support mandatory solar panels for new homes, survey finds

The built sector is urging the Government to consider a more ambitious iteration of the Future Homes Standard by 2028.

The survey, conducted by YouGov on behalf of the MCS Charitable Foundation, was undertaken ahead of debates regarding the Future Homes Standard. The Standard, which will come into effect in 2025, will set new requirements for developers to reduce the operational emissions of homes by improving energy efficiency and including some clean technologies as standard.

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas is currently leading efforts to bring forward an amendment to the Standard that would require all new-build homes to be fitted with solar panels.

The new survey was taken by 98 MPs, representative of the entire cohort at Parliament in terms of political party, gender and region. It revealed strong support for Lucas’ proposal. Seven in ten (69%) of the MPs surveyed said they would support a mandate for solar panels on new-build homes, while 13% said they would oppose this. The remainder were undecided.

Support was lower among Conservative MPs (64%) than Labour MPs (75%) but was still significant.

The survey also sought to garner opinions on potential mandates for other clean technologies in homes, including battery storage systems to work alongside the solar panels. Only half of MPs would support mandatory battery storage while one-fifth would oppose. Support was found to be stronger among MPs outside of the two largest political parties, with support among SNP MPs sitting at 67%.

In its current form, the Future Homes Standard will mandate the addition of at least one electric vehicle (EV) charging point per house and sets mandates for minimum EV charging point installations at flats, too. The survey found that two-thirds of MPs support this approach.

Hot topic

The survey additionally assessed opinions around gas heating and heat pumps. The Future Homes Standard will mean homes built from 2025 cannot be fitted with a gas-only boiler. They must be connected to district heating, fitted with their own heat pump or fitted with a hydrogen-ready boiler. There are concerns that having a hydrogen-ready boiler does not necessarily mean that a home will stop using natural gas for heating – and that using hydrogen for home heating is not the soundest choice environmentally or economically.

To that end, the survey asked whether the Future Homes Standard should mandate that new homes are not connected to the gas grid. 49% of MPs said this would be a good decision, with support being the lowest (43%) among the Conservative Party. Opinion was similarly divided on a mandate for heat pumps.

The MCS Charitable Foundation’s director of external affairs David Cowdrey called the survey findings “very encouraging”.

Cowdrey said: “Installing solar panels, heat pumps and battery storage is essential to reducing our carbon emissions and cutting bills, and there is no better time to install these than at the point of construction. MPs must now ensure that the Future Homes Standard fulfils the ambitions required to meet net zero targets, by mandating renewable energy on all new homes.”

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Comments (1)

  1. Richard Phillips says:

    What is the relationship between solar panels and “the grid”?
    May they just supply domestic heating of water or space as required, or must they be grid connected in some fashion?
    Are such connections flexible or fixed?
    Richard Phillips

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