Scotland now home to 660,000 solar panels

New figures have revealed the massive amount of small-scale renewable projects deployed in Scotland, but industry figures warned that further development could be crippled by recent subsidy cuts.

Scotland is now home to around 660,000 250W solar panels, 2,557 small wind projects, 204 hydro-electric schemes and three anaerobic digesters, according to figures released today by Scottish Renewables and Scotland’s Rural College.

The announcement was made on the day that the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) finishes a consultation on plans to end Feed-in Tariff ‘pre-accreditation’, which gives renewable energy generators a guaranteed tariff level in advance of commissioning their installation.

DECC is also set to begin a wholesale review of the Feed-in Tariff subsidy in the next few days.

Scottish Renewables policy manager Stephanie Clark said the moves would make many small-scale renewable projects unviable in the future.

She said: “The figures released today demonstrate the extent of our love affair with small-scale renewables, but the current level of change and uncertainty is already punishing the sector.

“Without the FiT scheme thousands of homes and businesses would not have access to the affordable, clean electricity which has allowed them to stabilise their energy bills while reducing the amount of carbon emitted because of their energy use.

“Small-scale renewables can continue to thrive in the UK, but the sector urgently needs confirmation that it has the backing of the Government.”

The importance of decentralised power sources was highlighted yesterday, as Longannet power station – Scotland’s last coal power plant – was scheduled to be shut down thanks to the rising cost of connecting to the grid.

Green campaigners hailed the closure as the next step in Scotland’s transition to a renewable power system, but warned that continued Government support would still be needed in the short term.

Brad Allen



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