Solar could meet all of Scotland's power needs, says WWF Scotland

Data from WeatherEnergy and WWF Scotland has revealed that there was enough sunshine in Scotland last month to meet 100% of the electricity needs of the average Scottish household, prompting calls for Scotland to further embrace the potential of PV in the country.

According to WeatherEnergy, there was enough sunshine in April to easily meet the power needs of homes fitted with PV panels in three Scottish cities. In Edinburgh, solar energy output was 113% of the electricity needs of an average home, while in Aberdeen that figure was 111% and in Glasgow it reached 106%.

With solar PV systems fitted in 35,000 Scottish homes and atop 600 business premises, Scotland has the future potential to power all of its electricity supply with solar, said WWF Scotland, calling on more homeowners and businesses to take advantage of the technology in order to reap the cash and carbon-saving benefits.

"For the tens of thousands of Scottish households that have already installed solar panels, there was enough sun to effectively meet all of their electricity or hot water needs in April, helping to reduce our reliance on polluting fossil fuels," said WWF Scotland director Lang Banks. "With these sorts of figures, every home or business with a south-facing roof should seriously consider switching on to the full potential of solar power.

"Similarly," he added, "there is no reason why Scotland should not be home to commercial-scale solar farms.” Scotland’s renewable energy landscape is one of the most robust in Europe, driven largely by a sizeable on- and offshore wind industry, but solar’s potential to pick up the summer slack – when wind turbines produce less than they do during winter – should be fully embraced, believe environmentalists working within Scotland’s energy landscape.

"Scotland has long been leading the charge when it comes to wind power," said Karen Robinson of WeatherEnergy. "However, despite misconceptions, Scotland also has potential for sun-loving renewables too.

"The data clearly shows that there is plenty of sunshine to meet a significant proportion of an average family’s electricity and hot water needs for most months of the year."

In April, wind power met 29% of the country’s total electricity consumption, and combined with hydro and solar, renewables are now Scotland’s chief power source, elbowing-out nuclear energy late last year.