Solar Energy Scotland chair Thomas McMillan has written to the major Scottish political parties outlining the case for greater ambition and policy support for solar energy in the country. In the letter Thomas calls on the parties to include a robust plan of action for deployment of solar energy technologies as part of their election bid.
Courtesy of NREL.
He nods to Scottish leadership in respect to its net zero target and harnessing of other renewable energy technologies but expresses regret at the lack of solar energy uptake in the country to date, accounting for just 3 percent of all Scottish renewables.
“Scottish solar has been sitting in the shadows of the wind sector for far too long” said Solar Energy Scotland chair Thomas McMillan. “We need to dispel the myth solar is not a major resource in Scotland. An area the size of the Isle of Hoy receives enough sunlight to meet all of Scotland’s energy needs. Solar is price competitive with wind power and accessible to homeowners who can generate their own electricity at a price that is cheaper than electricity from a utility supplier. It is time for Scotland to get its fair share of solar.”
An accompanying manifesto sets out five policies that would help significantly elevate Scotland’s solar potential:
Increase energy efficiency standards for existing housing stock
Expand finance support for homeowners, local authorities and housing associations to retrofit solar onto residential properties
Exempt solar energy and batteries from non-domestic rates
Extend permitted development status from 50kW on all solar projects to either 1MW as is the practice in England, or higher
Permit farmers who lease land for solar parks to receive Basic Payment Scheme payments where land is also used for sheep grazing or biodiversity enhancement
Support the creation of a smart grid so that solar can contribute to an efficient and well managed system
Scotland currently sits bottom of the solar deployment league when compared to its neighbours, contributing just 2.5 percent of total capacity across the UK. Despite a comparable climate and population to Denmark, the land of innovation has less than a third of its solar capacity. With key barriers removed, Scotland could see its solar energy capacity grow by more than ten times existing levels.