Scotland’s solar power capacity soars by over 30% – but Scot-Govt ‘must do more’

Monokristalline Solarmodule vor sonnigem HimmelIndustry associations are today calling on the Scottish Government should do all it can to help encourage the roll-out of more solar power north of the border.

The call by WWF Scotland, Lightsource Renewable Energy, and the Solar Trade Association com,es as the organisations published figures revealing that the total installed capacity of solar photo-voltaic (PV) systems in Scotland had now reached 140 Megawatts (MW) – a rise of 32% since last year.

The groups said that the installations would help to prevent thousands of tonnes of climate-damaging carbon dioxide from being emitted every year. Analysis of updated figures from Ofgem [1] for December 2014 shows that:

  • Scotland’s installed solar PV capacity now stands at 140MW – a rise of 34MW (+32%) on the same time last year and rise of 138MW (+6900%) since 2010;
  • Over 35,000 homes and 600 business premises in Scotland now have solar PV arrays fitted;
  • During the year, the total installed solar PV capacity on homes alone broke through the 100MW barrier – to now stand at 126MW.

Lang Banks, WWF Scotland director, said: “The total installed solar capacity may be small when compared to wind energy, but together these solar panels are helping to prevent thousands of tonnes of climate-damaging emissions being emitted every year.

“The great thing about solar is that it can deployed easily and quickly in towns and cities or in places not suitable for wind turbines. Solar is also complimentary to wind and can share sites and grid connections.

“Alongside energy saving measures, renewable energy technologies like solar and wind will be important to enabling Scotland meet its climate change targets. We call upon the Scottish Government to do all that it can to help ensure Scotland switches on to the full potential of solar power.”

Lightsource has already identified around 70 potential sites for ground-mounted solar PV farms in Scotland, as well as opportunity for commercial and domestic rooftop solar PV systems.

Founded in 2010, Lightsource Renewable Energy is Europe’s leading solar PV electricity generator. The company develops, operates and maintains the largest portfolio of utility scale solar PV plants in the country with a total installed capacity of more than 600MWp and a very significant pipeline currently under construction.

Lightsource is UK based – including offices in Livingston – with a growing team of over 250 experienced solar PV engineers, planners, and project manager Kate Baxter, who oversees Strategy and External Affairs at Lightsource Renewable Energy, said:

“Advances in solar PV technology have seen increased efficiency of panels and reductions in manufacturing costs, making solar PV a viable power source to add to Scotland’s overall energy mix. To ensure Scotland has opportunity to benefit from solar energy as the UK has, we need Scottish Ministers to use whatever powers are at their disposal to influence energy policy in support of solar technology deployment.”

And a spokesman for the Solar Trade Association said: “Nearly 600,000 households have gone solar across the UK of which 5% are in Scotland. But, we’d like to see Scotland fully share in the many benefits solar can provide.

“The Scottish Government has provided world class leadership on renewable energy so we urge them to throw their weight behind solar too. No other energy technology has delivered the scale of cost reductions seen in solar and no other technology has empowered such vast numbers of everyday people to take control of their power supply. It is vital to retain this momentum.”

According to the Energy Savings Trust: “A typical home solar PV system could save over a tonne of carbon dioxide per year – that’s more than 30 tonnes over its lifetime.”

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