85% of local authorities now own solar panels, report reveals

The Solar Trade Association has produced a report which reveals how many local authorities are utilising solar technology.

They analysed data from FOI requests in 2017 to all local authorities, to which 330 responded, together with 2018 deployment data from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The report also highlighted the work Plymouth City Council have done developing the Bickleigh Down Eco Village, a development of net zero emissions homes.

The report reveals:

  • 85% of local authorities own solar panels and 29% have incorporated solar technology within their environmental strategies.
  • The authority making the largest investments in solar is Forest Heath District Council which has invested £16m.
  • The top 10 local authority investors have collectively invested over £80million in solar power.
  • The local authority with the highest concentration of solar homes is Peterborough with 11% of households having solar power.
  • The authority with the lowest concentration of solar homes is Kensington where only 0.1% of homes have solar – a 100X difference compared to Peterborough.
  • The bottom 10 local authorities by concentration of solar homes are in London.

STA chief executive Chris Hewett said: ‘Leadership on solar in the UK today comes from local councils, and increasingly from regional Government. Local people want a stake in clean energy, so they understand the tremendous value of solar and energy storage – both hugely accessible technologies.

‘We’ve been impressed by the level of innovation and political leadership being demonstrated today by some councils. Our message to councils is don’t wait on national government; there is a lot you can do today with solar and the UK solar industry wants to work with you to help meet your climate, air quality and economic goals.’

Report author Leonie Greene said: ‘There is frustration out there that national policy has made it harder to do solar. Our research showed that better national policy is needed to support domestic and community solar and the great ambitions of local government to use solar to tackle fuel poverty. Government should also end the unfair business rate treatment of rooftop solar for self-consumption.

‘But our report shows that many projects can be done today, free of central government, which heralds a new era of sustainable clean energy investment. By making use of the unique powers they have on planning, to access salix finance, local development orders and on granting relief from rooftop solar business rates, councils can support the clean energy ambitions of the communities they serve.’

The top 10 authorities by investment in solar are:

Forest Heath District Council – £16,000,000.00
Cornwall Council – £13,910,000.00
Wrexham County Borough Council – £12,600,000.00
Cambridgeshire County Council – £10,500,000.00
Wigan Metropolitan Borough – £7,900,000.00
Bournemouth Borough Council – £5,500,000.00
Leeds City Council – £5,194,000.00
Northampton Borough Council – £4,460,000.00
Gravesham Borough Council – £4,200,000.00
Eastbourne Council – £4,000,000.00

Read the report here

Thomas Barrett

Thomas Barrett

Journalist. Follow him on Twitter

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