Unsurprisingly, the rankings show that counties in Southern England have led the way. However, they also show that some areas are not making the most of available solar resources. Counties such as East Sussex, West Sussex and Surrey are missing out, having installed less capacity than might have been expected.
The number one spot, with regard to installed capacity, is occupied by Wiltshire, neither the sunniest nor the largest of Britain's counties. That in turn indicates that other counties may not be making as much use of their available solar resources as they could be, and therefore could be missing out.
Estimates of domestic income/savings varied from £413 in Shetland to £655 in the Isle of Wight but excluding the extremes of the Islands, differences in solar irradiation and potential earnings are probably smaller than imagined. As an example, sample locations in Angus (Scotland) had a predicted income/savings figure of £538 per year. This was less than southern English counties such as Bedfordshire (£561 per year) but the gap is only £23 per year.
Norfolk, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire are all surprise finds in the top 10 and Northern English counties such as Yorkshire and Greater Manchester make surprise showings in the top 10 for domestic capacity.
Overall, the UK Solar Power County Rankings paint a picture of solar uptake in the UK that is much more patchy than the opportunity, with some counties outperforming their solar potential while others aren't yet taking advantage of the available resource.
“Solar energy presents an opportunity for property owners across the UK but there is a lot of uncertainty over what the benefits are in real terms and what the figures really mean for householders" said Alastair Kay, Editor at Green Business Watch. “If we as an industry are to keep solar growing, it’s essential that we help property owners to see what can be achieved using solar. We’ve put together the UK Solar Power County Rankings to give a complete picture comparing solar deployment and potential on a county by county basis.”
Image: Richborough solar farm (Photo: Oast House Archive)
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