The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Car Parks and Rooftops Key to UK Solar Energy Target says CPRE

Car Parks and Rooftops Key to UK Solar Energy Target says CPRE
23 May 2023
 

A new report from the UCL Energy Institute claims that the majority of the UK's required solar capacity could be installed unobtrusively on existing buildings and car parks and not on rural land.

The government has set a national target of 70GW of solar energy generation by 2035. The report analysed and quantified the solar photovoltaic capacity of rooftops and car parks across England, providing an assessment of the total energy that could be generated. 

It found that installing solar panels on existing rooftops and other land such as car parks could provide at least 40-50GW in England by 2035. There is also potential for up to 117GW of low-carbon electricity to be generated from roofs and other developed spaces by 2050.

 

“Given the urgency of the climate crisis, it’s time that renewables are fitted as standard on all new development. Homeowners expect it on new homes and it’s crazy to see massive new warehouses, with roofs the size of football pitches, waved through without any expectation they install rooftop solar."

–Roger Mortlock

Chief Executive, CPRE  

 

“Rooftop First” Approach to Solar Energy

 

Countryside charity CPRE agrees that a “rooftop first” approach is the best way to decarbonisation. In light of the report findings, CPRE believes that the government should commit to a new target of ensuring that at least 40GW of the national target for 70GW of solar by 2035 is delivered through the lowest cost opportunities for rooftop solar installations, on new builds, commercial buildings and car parks.

They claim that installing solar panels unobtrusively on existing buildings and car parks would enjoy near universal public support and help minimise objections to large solar farms in the countryside.

Roger Mortlock, Chief Executive of CPRE, said: “We are missing a trick in failing to install more solar panels on roofs and car parks. Rooftop solar has almost universal public support. It’s unobtrusive and largely out of the line of sight, which means less objections and a speedier passage through the planning system. 

“Given the urgency of the climate crisis, it’s time that renewables are fitted as standard on all new development. Homeowners expect it on new homes and it’s crazy to see massive new warehouses, with roofs the size of football pitches, waved through without any expectation they install rooftop solar.  

“The planning system is stuck in the fossil fuel age without a plan for net-zero. The first step must be all new buildings and major renovations requiring solar panels as a condition of planning permission unless there are strong reasons not to.”

Prof. Mark Barrett of the UCL Energy Institute, Lead Author of the research, added: “This study found there is more than sufficient potential solar capacity on rooftops and car parks in urban areas. It’s clear we can get close to meeting the government’s solar energy target without necessitating the development of large solar farms in sensitive rural areas. Urban photovoltaic panels on car parks, and new and large buildings, would be relatively cheap although retrofitting solar panels onto existing homes would be more costly.”

You can access the full report here.

Picture: a photograph of some solar PV panels on top of an industrial roof. Image Credit: Pexels

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 23 May 2023

Share


Related Tags


Related Articles

Mitie and Portsmouth City Council Unveil Plans for One of the Largest Solar Parking Canopies in UK

A solar PV and battery installation has been confirmed to go ahead at Lakeside North Harbour, set to be one of the largest solar parking canopy projects in the UK. The...

 Read Full Article
Mace to Help Install ‘Solar Membrane’ on Roof of London Stadium

A new carbon-saving 6,000-7,000-square-metre solar membrane is to be installed on the roof of the London stadium, project managed by Mace. The membrane will...

 Read Full Article
What is Happening With The London Resort?

Proposals for a multi-billion pound theme park in North Kent that was due to open in 2024 have been scrapped – let’s take a look at...

 Read Full Article
Havering Council to Bring Europe’s Largest Data Centre to the Borough

Havering Council’s Cabinet has agreed to move forward with a £5.3 billion plan to bring Europe’s largest data centre to the borough, a major piece of...

 Read Full Article
West Berkshire and Reading Borough Councils Pilot Smart Energy Systems

A pilot project to create a smart energy system in Thames Valley has successfully connected four of West Berkshire Council’s sites to the growing network. The...

 Read Full Article
Solar Rooftop for Berlin Olympiastadion

The Olympic Stadium Berlin is to generate its own solar electricity in a major investment to drive both climate security and the urban energy transition to clean, green...

 Read Full Article
Mitie and Essex Council Cut Schools' Carbon with Solar

Mitie Communities has worked with Essex County Council to manage the installation of roof-mounted solar panels at 15 schools across the county.  The new panels...

 Read Full Article
Ecocleen - New Head Office And Network Growth

Ecocleen has strengthened its nationwide infrastructure with the opening of a new headquarters and the expansion of its franchise network. The commercial contract...

 Read Full Article
Tower Power - Solar Skyscrapers A Reality

New British technology will turn glass panels and windows into solar panels and could turn our glass skyscrapers into power stations - claims a Cambridge company which...

 Read Full Article