Scottish islanders leading the UK in home-grown green power

Scottish islanders are leading the way in the UK when it comes to installing green energy tech in their homes.

Industry data has revealed that Orkney and the Western Isles are the top spots for schemes such as solar panels and ground-source heat pumps.

Scotland as a whole is also ahead of the rest of the UK for uptake of small-scale renewable systems.

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The findings come from a new report by MCS, the national standards organisation for renewables, which identifies green energy ‘forests’ and ‘deserts’ across the country.

A new report shows Scotland is leading the UK when it comes to uptake of domestic renewable schemes, with installations particularly high in remote parts of the country which are off the main gas grid

Part of Scotland’s success has been driven by “necessity”, according to experts, with Scots living in remote areas which are off-grid more likely to fit their homes with alternative power sources.

The highest proportion of installations can be found in two of Scotland’s most remote locations: In Orkney around one in five households has some form of renewable energy, closely followed by the Western Isles, where one in seven homes has a green power scheme.

Among its achievements, Orkney ranks number one for ground-source and water-source heat pumps and solar thermal.

The region comes in at number two for air-source heat pumps and sits within the top 10 for biomass, as a percentage of homes.

Orkney and the Western Isles are the UK for home renewable schemes such as solar panels, heat pumps and even small wind turbines

On top of that, seven per cent of households have an MCS-certified small wind turbine.

Analysis of the figures also suggests fuel poverty is a factor driving installations of micro renewable systems.

The Western Isles has the highest levels of fuel poverty in the UK – 36 per cent – and the highest proportion of homes with air-source heat pumps – one in 11 households.

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The report also shows some parts of Scotland are lagging behind when it comes to micro renewables – notably Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen.

However, Stirling bucks this trend, with the second-highest level of solar PV installations.

Ian Rippin, chief executive of MCS, said: “Our data clearly shows that Scotland is setting the benchmark for encouraging the uptake in small-scale renewables at a local and national level.

“While adopting greener energy in many rural areas of Scotland has resulted from necessity – being off-grid, for example – the country’s devolved power over things like subsidy, grants and consumer initiatives is proving highly successful.

“It demonstrates the importance of having a raft of combined initiatives under a unified strategy, rather than piecemeal approaches that have no long-term impact.”

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