INSTALLING state-of-the-art solar panels on 250,000 roofs could meet one-sixth of Scotland’s electricity demands, according to researchers.
Scientists believe the strategy could help the one in three Scottish households which they claim are currently struggling to provide themselves with adequate heat and hot water.
Experts from the University of Edinburgh, along with other researchers, business leaders and public sector representatives, contributed to a new report which sets out how Scotland could benefit from solar power.
Those involved in the project say it offers the most comprehensive assessment yet of Scotland’s solar energy potential, and argue that harnessing energy from the sun on the roofs of south-facing buildings could have “significant economic, environmental and social impacts”.
Solar power could help Scotland meet renewables targets, create jobs and make sure the energy needs of people in cities and rural areas are met, the project found.
Experts involved in the study said figures show that since 2001, the cost of generating electricity using solar panels has fallen by more than 70 per cent. By 2025 it could become the cheapest way of harnessing renewable energy and provide electricity that is cheaper than fossil fuels, they argue.
Dr Neil Robertson, of the University of Edinburgh’s school of chemistry, said: “The plummeting cost means that large-scale solar power is coming to Scotland whether we realise it or not. The key priority is to recognise this, so that we can start planning to maximise the social, environmental and business benefits it will bring us.”
Details of the study were revealed as an event takes place at the Scottish Parliament to raise awareness of solar technology.
The study was backed by the Scottish Institute for Solar Energy Research, the Scottish Solar Energy Group, the Energy Technology Partnership, AES Solar and the Scottish Universities Insight Institute.