Scotland ups solar footprint by 28% in 2015

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The least sunny part of the U.K. appears to be shining in the face of solar cuts affecting the rest of the country, with data published today showing that Scotland’s solar sector has grown by 28% this year.

There is now 179 MW of solar PV capacity installed north of the border, and while this is only a fraction of the U.K. overall total, it represents an encouraging expansion for the industry – particularly the residential sector.

Of the total installed PV capacity in Scotland, 159 MW is fitted atop homes, with 40,000 households now boasting a solar array. At commercial scale, it is a more modest 850 business premises, but the trend appears to suggest that Scotland will continue to embrace solar in 2016 and beyond.

Commenting on the data from energy regulator Ofgem, WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said that, despite the challenges facing the solar industry in the U.K., it is “fantastic” to see so many homes and businesses embracing solar.

“Although the total installed solar capacity is small when compared to wind energy, we should remember that collectively these solar panels are helping to prevent thousands of tonnes of climate-damaging emissions being emitted every year,” Banks said.

John Forster of the Solar Trade Association Scotland also welcomed the data, remarking how the growth is “very much in contrast” to the scrapping of the Zero Carbon Homes target by the Westminster government.

Forster did, however, urge the Scottish government to bring forward measures to encourage a greater uptake of solar power for many more Scottish households and businesses.