UK: PV popular 'north of the border'

In a survey released today, 84% of Scots are happy or unconcerned about living by a solar farm. Orbit Communications carried out the poll that shows, as PV developers look further north for installation sites, they may encounter little opposition from locals.

The Edinburgh-based Orbit released the survey results today, adding that the “popular Scotish solar industry” is at risk from changes to government policy. In a policy document for which the public consultation will close on July 7, the U.K. government has proposed that PV power plants larger than 5 MW should no longer receive Renewables Obligation Order payments, as of April 2015.

Scotland is already seeing strong PV and renewables growth and has set the bold aim of becoming a 100% renewable grid by 2020.

The Orbit survey found that 34% of Scots would be happy to live near a solar farm, with 50% having no strong opinion. 10% would be unhappy to do so.

“Through the recent publication of an action plan, industry experts have already demonstrated the huge potential for future development of the solar industry in Scotland and the major contribution this could make towards cutting carbon emissions and energy costs and meeting the very ambitious renewables targets previously set by the Scottish government,” said Orbit’s director of communications Alex Bruce.

“Large scale development offers the greatest potential to make a significant contribution to meeting these goals,” added Bruce. “If a change in government policy stifles a popular technology before it’s really had a chance to get off the ground, that would be a huge opportunity lost.”