While wind energy may be the renewables poster child in Scotland, the solar power sector’s performance in 2013 has also been impressive.
Data from Ofgem, the regulator of electricity and gas markets in the UK, shows Scotland’s installed solar PV capacity has reached 106MW – an increase of 28MW (36%) on the same time in 2012. At the end of 2010 Scotland hosted just 2MW of solar panels.
More than 28,000 homes and 450 commercial premises in Scotland now havesolar power systems installed.
“The total may be small when compared to wind energy, but reaching 100 megawatts of installed solar capacity still represents a significant milestone on Scotland’s path toward generating only pollution-free electricity,” said WWF Scotland director Lang Banks.
Dr Anne-Marie Fuller, a Business Development Executive for the Energy Technology Partnership and chairperson of the Scottish Solar Energy Group says Scotland receives approximately 80 per cent, and in some areas 90 per cent, of the solar radiation of Germany.
Dr Fuller believes “there is absolutely no reason we couldn’t be deploying significantly more solar if we really wanted to” and sees the technology’s greatest opportunity in utilising rooftop real estate in urban areas; generating power close to the point of consumption.
Scotland has experienced what will likely be a record year for renewable energy; with data from the first 9 months of 2013 showing overall renewables generation 4 per cent higher compared to the same period in 2012.
By the end of September this year, installed renewables capacity exceeded 6.4GW in Scotland, an increase of 14.6% (825 MW) from the third quarter of 2012.
Scotland is aiming for 100 per cent of its electricity to be generated via renewable sources by 2020 and is on track to meet a 2015 interim target of 50%.