Green energy campaigners have called for more homes and businesses to harness the power of the sun after solar capacity hit a new high.
More than 28,000 homes and 450 business premises in Scotland have installed solar photo-voltaic (PV) systems, December figures from regulator Ofgem show.
The capacity of these systems has reached 106 megawatts, up from just 2 megawatts in 2010 and an increase of more than a third (36%) on the same time last year.
Passing the 100 megawatt mark was described as a “significant milestone” by WWF Scotland, the Energy Technology Partnership and the Scottish Solar Energy Group.
The organisations want the Scottish Government to do as much as it can to support people to go solar.
“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.
“Together these solar panels are helping to prevent thousands of tonnes of climate-damaging emissions being emitted every year. Every home and business with a suitable roof or space should seriously consider going solar.
“Alongside energy saving measures, renewable energy technologies like solar and wind will be important to enabling Scotland meet its climate change targets.
“We call upon the Scottish Government to do all that it can to help ensure Scotland switches on to the full potential of solar power.”
A typical home solar PV system could save more than a tonne of carbon dioxide per year, according to the Energy Savings Trust.
“Scotland might seem like an unlikely place for solar, but if you look at a solar radiation map, Scotland receives about 80%, and in some parts 90%, of the solar energy of Germany, the world leader in solar deployment with about 35 gigawatts installed to date,” said Dr Anne-Marie Fuller, chairwoman of the Scottish Solar Energy Group
“So there is absolutely no reason we couldn’t be deploying significantly more solar if we really wanted to.”
Dr Fuller, who is also solar business development executive for the Energy Technology Partnership, added: “Solar power is an extremely versatile electricity generation technology that can provide many opportunities for Scotland.
“It can be used from watt scale to power personal electronic equipment to megawatt scale to transform brownfield land into biodiverse sites that generate useful electricity for the local area.
“Its greatest advantage however is that it can be installed in the urban environment to provide power at the point of use.”