Scotland: solar, wind enjoyed 'huge' year in 2015, says WWF

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Renewable energy in Scotland achieved record levels of output in 2015, according to WWF Scotland’s analysis of data provided by WeatherEnergy.

While wind power broke all sorts of records, solar PV also pulled its weight, supplying enough energy to meet the electricity demands of solar households for seven months of the year. Wind power, by contrast, generated enough energy to supply the electrical needs of 97% of Scottish households during 2015, and in December wind provided 1,352,399 MWh of electricity – enough power for 3.59 million homes.

For homes fitted with solar PV panels, the month of May saw enough sunshine in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow or Inverness to generate 100% of the estimated electricity needs of the average home, and a further 50% more in those cities in the months of March, April, June, July, August and September.

"Without doubt, 2015 was a huge year for renewables [in Scotland]," said WWF Scotland director Lang Banks. "Wind turbines and solar panels helped to ensure millions of tonnes of climate damaging carbon emissions were avoided.

"With 2016 being a critical year politically, we’d like to see each of the political parties back policies that would enable Scotland become the EU’s first fully renewable electricity nation by 2030."

Banks added that solar power was able to meet "half or more" of electricity or hot water needs in the tens of thousands of Scottish households that have solar panels installed in 2015.

WeatherEnergy’s Karen Robinson said that, following the recent Paris climate talks – which called for greater use of low-carbon energy sources – Scotland’s data shows that renewables in the country are already "playing a major and increasing role in Scotland’s, and the rest of the U.K.’s, overall energy mix."

Robinson added that despite misconceptions, Scotland’s solar potential is massive. "The data clearly shows that there’s plenty of sunshine to meet a significant proportion of an average family’s electricity needs for the majority of months of the year. With hundreds of thousands of household roofs, it would not take much to tap more of the sun’s power."