Glasgow City Council is about to launch a project to identify sites for small solar farms on 400 patches of wasteland scattered across the city. The plan is to install arrays of solar panels to generate clean electricity on vacant or derelict sites owned by the council.
Despite the sun’s relatively rare appearance in the sky over Scotland’s largest city, experts say that tapping its rays for power in this way can play a vital role in ensuring a low-pollution future for Glasgow.
The initiative has been enthusiastically welcomed by renewable energy experts and companies, who see a bright future for solar power across Scotland. Edinburgh is looking at putting solar farms in disused quarries and on pit bings, and 16 major solar electricity projects have won planning approval elsewhere in Scotland in the last two years.
Scotland already has 116 megawatts of solar capacity from more than 31,000 installations, mostly panels on the roofs of peoples’ homes (see tables below). But this is now seen by many as just the start.
Glasgow council has teamed up with Strathclyde University to conduct a comprehensive survey of 550 hectares of city land that is currently not being used. Sites will be assessed for technical and policy constraints to see which ones could accommodate mini solar farms.
Solar farms are arrays of photovoltaic (PV) panels installed on the ground and designed to capture the sun’s radiation and turn it into electricity. According to the solar industry, just one hectare of panels can produce enough electricity to power up to 150 homes.