Did you know that today is the start of Big Energy Saving Week 2021? This annual campaign aims to help people cut back on fuel bills and make their homes more fuel efficient.
So, we thought we should take a closer look at renewable energy in Britain – naturally, we investigated solar power. Which cities in England are taking the biggest strides towards a sustainable future?
To find out, we have been busy gathering information from city councils all across Britain. This data will help give us a better idea of the areas in England, Scotland and Wales that are showing the most interest in solar energy.
We wanted to see not only how much energy each council is producing via solar power, but the amount of recent investment put in as well. Some city councils have spent big outlays on solar energy in the past and as such, they already have good solar production in place. Others have spent consistently in recent years and will see the full benefits in the next few decades. It is clear to see the emphasis on solar power investment in some cities compared to others though.
It is interesting to discover how much your local area is doing in terms of solar power – the results may surprise you! You can see for yourself, with our interactive dataset here. We have put together an interactive map of the UK to display the results. Find out which council has invested most, which area has equipped the most buildings with PV panels and which city produces the most solar energy for their council.
The UK has broken its own personal best solar power record in the last few weeks by nearly doubling its 2013 solar output for the same period. This is a massive step in the right direction and wasn’t predicted. (With the budget removed by the government it was feared this would shrink.) Solar capacity in the UK is difficult to measure due to massive array of small personal PV and solar cells on houses. However, it is estimated that last year the installed solar capacity generated from homes, buildings, and solar farms was 2.7GW. It has now risen to 4.7gw!
What the Experts Say
Ray Noble, consultant at the UK National Solar Centre, said this: “There are now 530,000 installations in the UK, of which 510,000 are domestic small-scale ones. Last weekend we estimated they generated about 8% of daytime electricity in total. We think that this is likely to double again within a year. There is nothing to stop it getting to 30-40% of UK electricity at this time of year.”
The Worldwide Picture
We’re not the only ones breaking records either! France, Italy, Denmark, and Germany (amongst others) are believed to have generated record amounts in June as well. Germany has been one of the fore-runners in moving to renewable energy for a long time. They managed a peak of 23.1GW hours at lunchtime Monday 9 June. This is equivalent to 50.6% of its total electricity need. It’ll be a long time before we can challenge them for the top spot but the UK certainly isn’t the last horse in the race.
Europe added 10.9GW of PV capacity in 2013 which made a total of 81GW worldwide!