Houses with solar panels in Scotland generate (easily) enough electricity to meet the needs of those that own them, according to recent data from the analyst firm WeatherEnergy.
These new figures were recently published by WWF-Scotland and generated a fair amount of media coverage there -- mostly centered around the fact that homes outfitted with rooftop solar were able to rely entirely on self production during the month of April.
To be specific here, the data (here you go) shows that during the month of April, in the capital of Edinburgh, home solar provided 132% of the electricity needs for those residents that had such systems. Data for the city of Glasgow showed similar apparent realities -- 123% of owner electricity needs were supplied by home solar systems. The city of Aberdeen, as well, showered similar realities -- with 129% of owner needs being supplied by home systems.
Solar proponents (unsurprisingly) used this data to suggest that Scotland was ripe for a rooftop solar buildout.
“For the tens of thousands of Scottish households that have already installed solar panels, there was enough sun to effectively meet all of their electricity or hot water needs in April, helping to reduce our reliance on polluting fossil fuels,” stated WWF Scotland director Lang Banks. “With these sorts of figures, every home or business with a south-facing roof should seriously consider switching on to the full potential of solar power.
“Similarly,” he added, “there is no reason why Scotland should not be home to commercial-scale solar farms.”
While I mostly agree with that sentiment, it should be remembered here that part of the reason for such impressive figures is that those that already have home solar systems in Scotland are by and large the wealthier citizens -- thus they are more able to afford extensive systems, ensuring that their electricity needs are met. Those with fewer resources available to them may simply not be able to afford such comprehensive systems -- perhaps only being able to afford a couple of panels. That said, solar is now often cheaper than grid electricity, so... with the right financing, it could make sense.
Image by 10 10 (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)