Around 42,000 solar schemes (equivalent to around 660,000 250W solar panels), 2,557 small wind projects, 204 hydro-electric schemes and three anaerobic digesters, which turn waste into gas, are powering Scotland’s homes, businesses and community buildings – according to latest figures produced by Scottish Renewables and Scotland’s Rural College.
However, new small renewables projects face an uncertain future, with the Department of Energy and Climate Change set to report on expected cuts in mid-September, and a wholesale review of the Feed-in Tariff, thorough which they are supported, set to start in days.
Small-scale electricity-generating renewables are generally defined as those eligible to claim the UK Government’s Feed-in Tariff. They typically provide enough power for a home or business, but can be as large as 5MW – the equivalent of a hydroelectric scheme which can power around 3,400 homes.The survey also shows:
- The 2014 Commonwealth Games – which organisers said were “the greenest ever” – have made the G40 postcode in Glasgow’s East End the country’s top mainland spot for small-scale renewables;
- Inverurie is Scotland’s solar capital. The town’s AB51 postcode hosts some 10,000 250W solar panels – more than any other region in Scotland;
- Glasgow has 35% more small-scale renewable energy schemes than Edinburgh;
- Scotland has 23% more small-scale renewables per capita than England-Wales, and has almost eight times as much small-scale wind;
- Scotland’s small-scale hydro hotspot is the Tay valley, followed by an area to the north of Loch Ness, then the western banks of Loch Lomond, around the villages of Luss and Arrochar;
- The Isle of Jura – home to the one of the largest privately-owned hydro stations in the UK – has the highest amount of small-scale renewable energy capacity per capita of any postcode region.
Jamie Hepburn, the Scottish Government Sports Minister, said the figures for Glasgow’s G40 postcode show the “positive legacy” of the Commonwealth Games.
He said: “We always intended the 2014 Commonwealth Games to be the greenest in the history of the movement.
“These figures show more small scale renewables in the G40 post code than anywhere else in Scotland, and it seems likely that the new buildings put up for the Commonwealth Games have contributed to that.”
A spokesman at Scottish Renewables said: “Today (August 19) is the closing date for a consultation on the first stage of changes to UK government funding, but within the next month we’re expecting further cost-cutting proposals to be announced.
“The current level of change and uncertainty is already punishing the sector.
“Small-scale renewables can continue to thrive in the UK, but the sector urgently needs confirmation that it has the backing of the Government.”