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Scotland ‘leading the UK’ with record year for solar and heat pump installations

The figures show increasing numbers of Scottish households are having green energy systems installed (PA)
The figures show increasing numbers of Scottish households are having green energy systems installed (PA)

A record number of heat pumps and solar power systems were installed across Scotland last year, figures show.

The MCS Foundation, which collates the data, said 25,875 solar power systems were fitted to homes and businesses across the country in 2023 – 56% more than in 2021 and 174% up from the 2020 total.

There were also 6,388 heat pumps installed last year – 37% more than 2021 and 113% up from 2020.

As of last year, there were 203,347 MCS-certified renewable energy systems installed across Scotland, with these including solar panels, heat pumps, and small-scale wind turbines.

That means almost one in 10 Scottish households (8.23%) now has some kind of green energy system at their property.

David Cowdrey, director of external affairs at the MCS Foundation, said “Scottish households are leading the UK in renewable energy installations”.

The 2023 figures show a “very positive trajectory” for solar panels and heat pumps, he added.

But he said to tackle climate change, the rate of installations needs to increase.

(PA Graphics)

Mr Cowdrey said: “Scottish Government grants of up to £9,000 have helped to boost installations and get more households off polluting fossil fuels and on to cheaper and more efficient renewables.

“To reduce energy bills and tackle the climate crisis, the rate of installations must continue to increase. This will need action from Westminster as well, to reduce the costs of electricity so that even more households can make savings on their energy bill by replacing a gas boiler with a heat pump.”

Fabrice Leveque, climate and energy policy manager at the environmental campaign group WWF Scotland, said the Scottish Government must introduce “long-term policies” to phase out the use of boilers than run on fossil fuels, such as oil or gas.

He said: “More and more households are turning to heat pumps and solar energy to reduce their energy bills and carbon emissions.

“As well as grant funding, the Scottish Government must put in place long-term policies to phase out the use of fossil boilers, which is why it’s essential that the Heat in Buildings Bill is introduced this year to Parliament.”

Zero carbon buildings minister Patrick Harvie said: “This is welcome news and clear evidence of the growing awareness and appetite for renewable energy and clean heat in Scotland’s homes and buildings.

“Twenty per cent of Scotland’s carbon emissions come from heating our homes and buildings, so moving away from polluting heat is essential to achieve net zero by 2045.

“Scotland continues to offer the most generous package of grants and loans in the UK to support the move to clean heating. We know there is more work to do to reflect the surge in interest. That is why we’re currently seeking views on plans that represent an ambitious step-change for greener and warmer buildings in Scotland and we are committed to bringing forward a Heat in Buildings Bill during the current parliamentary session.”