London has ranked the lowest in UK solar panel uptake figures.
Recent figures published by the government (April 2013) showed that more than 360,000 homes had installed solar panels since April 2010.
Surprisingly London boroughs make up 23 of the 25 bottom ranked local authorities in terms of uptake.
Analysis by engineers WSP has found ‘that despite concerns solar panels would be the domain of the affluent only due to high upfront costs, location is actually a far stronger factor, even more so than sunshine levels. Affluence appears to be a weak factor only in determining installation rates’.
Dumfries and Galloway, parts of Herefordshire and parts of Devon, which have some of the lowest per capita income, have solar panel installation levels which are above average. The strongest indicator for panel installation is location. Installation rates in city areas, such as London and the West Midlands, are far behind rural areas.
WSP director David Symons commented: ‘While we might think that cities should be happy hunting grounds for solar sales, in reality houses in towns are smaller, their roofs are more likely to be obscured and there’s also less owner occupation. Flats and apartments also have more than one household, but only one roof. In contrast, houses in the country tend to be larger and have more space, so it’s more economical to put a panel on a roof in the country than in the city. What seems clear is that – when combined with biomass, anaerobic digestion facilities and wind – there’s an increasing trend for the countryside to be the renewable power station of the city.’
Top ten areas for solar panel installation:
Isles of Scilly
Bottom ten areas for solar panel installers London:
Hammersmith and Fulham
Kensington and Chelsea
City of London
Taken from Architects Journal, by Laura Mark