Nicola Baird: Soak up sun and generate electricity with solar panels

Islington Electricity Lighting Station

The former Electricity Lighting Station was opened in March 1896 to supply Islington with energy - Credit: Nicola Baird

When it comes to fuel poverty, it seems desperately unfair that some people in Islington still have a top-up electricity key (pre-payment metre) because a monthly tariff is always better value.

Years ago, the switch to the National Grid brought electricity prices down and made supplies more reliable.

In fact, from 1896-1969 Islington Electricity Department was generating electricity for the area in a building not far from today’s waste recycling centre. Now there’s a move to decentralise our energy supply again, which will also cut carbon.

The new Solar Together London incentive enables people in Islington to group together and make bulk orders for their own solar panels and battery storage.

Bulk advance orders bring the price down for everyone. Imagine if whole streets took this up? If you’re interested, see

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What’s so great about solar is that it works in bright daylight, not just when the sun shines.

My home has had eight solar photovoltaic (1.3kWp) panels on it since around 2008 and every quarter we get money from our electricity company for generating clean solar power for the grid.

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Excitingly, solar panels are much cheaper nowadays.

Not only will more solar panels help Islington decentralise and decarbonise its energy to meet the net-zero 2030 target, it’s also a way to increase the number of jobs in the clean energy sector.

Roofers and electricians - this is your moment. With jobs for those qualified being advertised at £35-£40,000, what are we waiting for?

You don’t need your own roof to make use of renewable energy from the wind and sun. The simplest way is to pick a green energy tariff such as those offered by Good Energy, Ecotricity and Green Energy UK.

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