Energy Minister Greg Barker has today announced plans to turn the Government estate as well as factories, supermarkets and car parks into "solar hubs" as part of a new strategy.

The Solar Strategy, the first of its kind in the UK, sets out Government ambition to see solar rolled out more widely and with it the potential to support tens of thousands of jobs.

Launching the Solar Strategy at SunSolar Energy in Birmingham, Energy Minister Greg Barker said:

"We have put ourselves among the world leaders on solar and this ambitious Strategy will place us right at the cutting edge.

"There is massive potential to turn our large buildings into power stations and we must seize the opportunity this offers to boost our economy as part of our long term economic plan.

"Solar not only benefits the environment, it will see British job creation and deliver the clean and reliable energy supplies that the country needs at the lowest possible cost to consumers."

Growth is now being focussed on opening up the solar market for the UK's estimated 250,000 hectares of south facing commercial rooftops. Solar increasingly offers efficient and cost effective onsite generation opportunities to both businesses and domestic consumers, and the strategy makes a step change in the ambition for both to generate renewable energy.

In a further initiative, the Department for Education is working on ways to improve energy efficiency across the 22,000 schools in England, to reduce their annual energy spend of £500 million. The initiative will encourage the deployment of PV on schools alongside promoting energy efficiency.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said:

"Solar panels are a sensible choice for schools, particularly in terms of the financial benefits they can bring. It is also a great way for pupils to engage with environmental issues and think about where energy comes from."

Currently, over half a million buildings already use solar and with the cost of solar falling it is becoming more attractive for households, communities, and businesses to invest.

With this, the Government is leading by example and aims to turn its buildings and brownfield sites into power stations by installing solar PV on its estate.

This Strategy follows the “Roadmap to a Brighter Future” which was published last October. It looks to showcase how the UK is at the forefront of innovation in solar PV and its importance in driving further cost reduction, meeting the challenges of balancing the electricity system, securing carbon lifecycle benefits, and identifying new financial models to help households invest.