Parliament scraps idea of going solar powered

Parliament has scrapped the idea of going solar powered.
Parliament has scrapped the idea of going solar powered. Photo credit: File.

The Speaker Trevor Mallard investigated getting solar panels installed at Parliament but has decided to scrap the idea after a briefing indicated they "were not as effective as previously thought".

Solar power generation makes the most sense for those who use power as it's generated - during the day and during summer months. 

Solar panels were deemed not effective enough for Parliament as it would still require connection to the grid in order to maintain power for those working late into the night. Parliament regularly sits until 10pm at night.

Green Party spokesperson for energy and resources Gareth Hughes told Newshub he'd love to see solar panels on Parliament.

"It's a great way to save taxpayer money by reducing power bills and send a strong message to taxpayers we are committed to taking climate change," Hughes told Newshub.

The "passionate about solar" MP said he'd like to see solar panels well beyond Parliament - on "as many government buildings as possible." That includes schools and hospitals, "to save money and reduce carbon pollution".

Sustainable Energy Association NZ Chair Brendan Winitana told Newshub his understanding is Parliamentary Services' budget "did not enable them to install solar this year as they had planned."

Solar panels have momentarily been installed at Parliament before - in 2015 Greenpeace activists scaled the roof with six solar panels they used to power a wifi hub.

Greenpeace climate campaigner Amanda Larsson told Newshub the decision is "very disappointing and shows the Government isn't taking climate change seriously at all."

"Responding to climate change requires us to reduce our dependence on oil, gas and coal and replace it with clean electricity from the sun, wind and water," Larsson said.