The London Borough of Merton has invested the highest proportion of council budget into solar energy since 2015, according to new analysis conducted by The Solar Centre.
Using data gathered via freedom of information (FOI) requests, The Solar Centre ranked different councils according to how much they spent on solar energy between 2015 – 2020. With budget sizes varying greatly, the researchers referenced the investment against the available budget for ‘environment’ and ‘housing.’
Having conducted this analysis, the researchers found that the London Borough of Merton has spent the most on solar energy, spending over £1.4m in the past five-and-a-half years. Proportionate to budget, this was more than £130,000 per million.
Overall, the city that invested the most was Portsmouth – with £4,995,707 spent in 5 years. Portsmouth has continued to invest and since this data was collected, they have built another large 250-kilowatt PV system, installed on Hilsea Industrial Estate in October 2020.
Other factors that were looked at in terms of council involvement in solar projects were the number of council-owned properties fitted with solar systems and the amount of solar energy generated for council use since 2014/15.
The researchers found that Newcastle has the most solar fitted buildings, with 1,032, but by far the most energy produced for council use was in Peterborough. They have generated over 295 million kilowatt-hours (kWh).
Brian Davenport, director of The Solar Centre, said: ‘All of us at The Solar Centre care greatly about the UK’s target of having net zero emissions by 2050, and we’re always interested to see council activity that helps towards reaching this goal.
‘Of course, there are many areas councils need to invest in besides solar, but it is always nice when we see the likes of Portsmouth, Merton and Plymouth continually showing passion and investment in solar energy in their city.’
To see the full data set for each city, please visit The Solar Centre’s dedicated webpage here.