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Scotland urged to invest in solar panels

Scotland isn’t the sunny haven you’d imagine that solar panels would gain the most benefit from, but in order to meet renewable energy targets, the Solar Trade Association has announced that it needs to get its skates on and do some retrospective solar panel fitting.

The announcement comes after Alex Salmond gave Scottish ministers an admirable target of 100% renewable energy for the people of Scotland by 2020, and with four years to go, there’s a lot of work to be done. His original proposal was made back in 2011, when he was First Minister.

The Solar Trade Association recommends that one way of meeting this target is to install panels on all of the new public buildings throughout the country, and to retrospectively fit solar panels to the landmark Scottish Parliament building. Other buildings which form part of the Scottish Government’s estate, which have been recommended for solar panel fitting, include schools, police stations, care homes, council offices, leisure centres and prisons.

They should also investigate mandatory solar panels on new builds and as part of refurbishment programmes which are being carried out by councils throughout Scotland, modernising public buildings and bringing them up to expected standards.

While the Solar Trade Association praised Scotland for its existing programme of adding solar PV to new builds, and in particular new build schools and academies, it’s not been as widespread as it could have been, and has been described as “haphazard”.

The STA say that they envisage better encouragement from the Scottish government, perhaps in the form of a law which states that, before planning permission for new builds or refurbishment is granted, there must always be an investigation into the potential for the addition of solar panels. Empty roof space is currently wasted potential.

They would also like local councils to be able to take out loans, secured against the council’s savings, which could be used to fund solar PV.

Renewable power is something which Scotland is enthusiastic about, Scottish Renewables, an organisation which looks into renewable energy, warned that unless there was more investment, 100% renewable energy for Scotland was unlikely, and 87% is more likely.