Groups back plans to unlock Scotland’s solar and heat potential

Solar panelsEnvironmental groups have urged Scotland to catch up with England and Wales by making it easier for householders and businesses to reduce carbon emissions through the installation of solar panels and air source heat pumps.

The call by WWF Scotland, RSPB Scotland and Stop Climate Chaos Scotland comes as the groups submitted their comments to a Scottish Government consultation, which closes today.

The groups all backed proposals to extend ‘Permitted Development Rights’ for solar panels on non-domestic buildings and for air source heat pumps on homes, which would enable those wishing to install the technologies to do so in most cases without seeking planning permission.

WWF Scotland’s climate and energy policy officer, Gina Hanrahan, said: “This move will make it easier for more people and businesses across Scotland to install their own renewable and low carbon sources of heat and power, helping to cut climate emissions, support jobs in new sectors and cut energy bills long-term. Extending Permitted Development Rights to these promising technologies will reduce complexity and cost for consumers and hopefully lead to greater uptake.”

RSPB Scotland’s conservation policy officer, Alexa Morrison, said: “These proposals by the Scottish Government would make it easier and cheaper for people and businesses to get involved in Scotland’s low carbon transition, particularly important in the face of uncertainties in the renewables sector at the moment.

“Scotland needs a renewable energy transition in harmony with nature, and these types of small-scale technologies can deliver significant carbon reductions and at the same time benefit local people and businesses. In particular, heating accounts for around half of Scotland’s carbon emissions, so making it easier for people to install renewable heat technologies in their homes would be a very positive step.”

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland’s co-ordinator, Gail Wilson, added: “As more and more people and businesses choose to install green energy on their properties, we need to make it as easy and as hassle-free as possible for them. Renewable and low carbon energy makes sense in terms of reducing your carbon footprint, but can also offer a reliable and affordable power source in an ever-changing energy market.”

In Scotland almost 35,000 homes and 600 businesses currently have solar panels installed.

Recent research by loan provider Ocean Finance revealed that the number of Scottish homeowners who are installing solar panels is increasing due to the soaring cost of energy prices.

Over half of those questioned said they had recently installed solar panels or planned to do so, as they seek ways to cut the cost of their energy bills.

Some 44 per cent of homeowners in Scotland said they plan to install solar panels on their homes – that’s almost 20 times more than last year, the study shows.

A further 13 per cent have already installed solar panels.

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