Scotland’s solar power capacity has increased by almost a third in the past year, according to new figures.
More than 35,000 homes and 600 business premises now have solar photo-voltaic (PV) systems, December figures from regulator Ofgem show.
The capacity of these systems has reached 140 megawatts, a rise of 32% from 106 megawatts last year and a huge increase on just 2 megawatts in 2010.
Green energy campaigners are calling on the Scottish Government to do more to help homes and businesses harness the power of the sun.
WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “The total installed solar capacity may be small when compared to wind energy, but together these solar panels are helping to prevent thousands of tonnes of climate-damaging emissions being emitted every year.
“The great thing about solar is that it can deployed easily and quickly in towns and cities or in places not suitable for wind turbines. Solar is also complimentary to wind and can share sites and grid connections.
“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.”
Kate Baxter, from solar energy supplier Lightsource Renewable Energy, said the company had identified around 70 potential sites for ground-mounted solar PV farms in Scotland.
She said: “Advances in solar PV technology have seen increased efficiency of panels and reductions in manufacturing costs, making solar PV a viable power source to add to Scotland’s overall energy mix.
“To ensure Scotland has opportunity to benefit from solar energy as the UK has, we need Scottish ministers to use whatever powers are at their disposal to influence energy policy in support of solar technology deployment.”
Leonie Greene, of the Solar Trade Association, added: “The Scottish Government has provided world class leadership on renewable energy so we urge them to throw their weight behind solar too.
“No other energy technology has delivered the scale of cost reductions seen in solar and no other technology has empowered such vast numbers of everyday people to take control of their power supply. It is vital to retain this momentum.”