The Scottish climate does not at first seem ideal for the application of solar power, and indeed there are no large-scale solar power plants or any plans to construct any. However, small-scale solar installations on houses, businesses or public buildings can provide a valuable input to the renewables mix. There is already an installed capacity of approximately 500kw of photovoltaic solar power in Scotland - yes, we do actually have sufficient daylight to warrant the use of this type of renewable energy. Modern solar panels are much more sensitive than older products, meaning that daylight alone can produce energy without the need for bright sunlight.
Another way of harnessing the sun's energy is in solar powered heating systems. These use panels of evacuated tubes or flat plate collectors which are usually positioned on the roof of the home. For maximum efficiency the panels should be on a southeast to southwest facing roof and should not be overshadowed by trees or other obstructions. A typical installation in Scotland would only require 5-6m² of roof space, and flat plate collectors for a solar power heating system can usually be installed to blend in as much as possible with existing roofing.
As of March 2009, domestic installations of solar power in Scotland no longer require planning permission (there are certain stipulations so check with your local planning authority), making it much easier for homeowners to use this type of renewable energy to produce either electricity or hot water. Solar photovoltaic installations currently (March 2011) attract the highest rate of feed-in tariff.
|Solar Electricity - Energy Saving Trust|
|Solar photovoltaic (PV) cells convert sunlight into electricity, which can be used to run household appliances and lighting. Find out more about how they work, ow to install them in your home and how they can make you money.|
|Solar Water Heating - Energy Saving trust|
|Use free heat from the sun to warm domestic hot water. How solar water heating works, costs and savings and how to work out if it is the right renewable technology for your home.|