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Solar Energy Scotland Chair calls for higher solar ambition

by james@pluggedin.media

Chair Thomas McMillan writes to Scottish parties staying: “It is time for Scotland to get its fair share of solar.”

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. 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% of all Scottish renewables.

Solar Energy Scotland chair Thomas McMillan said: “Scottish solar has been sitting in the shadows of the wind sector for far too long. 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.

According to Solar Energy Scotland, Scotland currently sits bottom of the solar deployment league when compared to its neighbours, contributing just 2.5% of total capacity across the UK, but with key barriers removed, Scotland could see its solar energy capacity grow by more than ten times existing levels.

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