Most Scots ‘happy’ to live next door to a solar power farm

Monokristalline Solarmodule vor sonnigem HimmelMost people in Scotland (84%) would be ‘happy’ or ‘unconcerned’ about living close to a solar farm, according to a new opinion poll.

The results come as the solar industry faces huge uncertainty following recently announced plans by the UK Government to slash incentives for the development of large scale solar farms.

The UK Government is proposing that solar farms with an installed capacity of 5 megawatts or more should no longer receive direct payments under the Renewables Obligation Order related to the amount of electricity they generate.

Instead, they will have to compete with other forms of renewable electricity generation for a capped pot of funds under a complex system known as ‘Contracts for Difference’. The new system would come into force from April 2015.

The announcement is particularly bad timing for Scotland since solar developers have only very recently begun to take an interest in the potential for large scale solar development north of the border. As technology improves and suitable sites further south become more and more difficult to find, an increasing number of solar companies were beginning to see potential for future industry growth in Scotland.

The poll found that  34% of Scots would be happy to live near a solar farm with 50% having no strong opinion and only 10% would be unhappy doing so. 

The poll results follow the recent publication of an action plan for development of the solar industry in Scotland, prepared on behalf of the Scottish Institute for Solar Energy Research and the Scottish Solar Energy Group.

The document highlights the huge potential for expansion of solar energy generation capacity in Scotland and calls for key stakeholders to work together to develop a vision for the industry’s future.

The poll was conducted by Progressive Scottish Opinion and YouGov. Total sample size was 1,015 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 11-13 June 2014.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Scottish adults (aged 18+).

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