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Solar Power for Schools

Volume 693: debated on Monday 26 April 2021

With reference to his Department’s proposals for a centralised procurement framework, what recent discussions he has had with the community energy sector on solar power for schools. (914732)

I will try to be brief, Mr Speaker. In January 2020, the DFE commercial team conducted market research when considering the possibility of undertaking a commercial tender for the provision of solar installations and monitoring in schools. On 14 and 15 January, a two-day supplier surgery was held where officials met a range of organisations, including community energy groups.

Community energy providers have successfully installed community solar on school roofs for many years, including in my constituency of Bath. This is one of the few remaining community energy models, but the Department’s proposed new framework to centralise procurement threatens to take it away. Will the Minister meet me and representatives of the community energy sector to discuss the impact of these proposals, plus a possible way forward?

Yes, of course I would be delighted to meet the hon. Member. The DFE is currently reviewing a variety of options for the most appropriate solutions for schools to assess the relevant supply chains for solar installation, and I look forward to having that discussion soon.