Organisations with public buildings and businesses suitable for installing solar panels, and heat pumps etc, will soon be able to go ahead and generate energy, without requiring planning permission
This follows measures under which the Scottish Government has already reduced the planning burden similarly for homeowners.
A Parliamentary Order within the Scottish Government will be put through, which will pave the way for an assortment of green technologies to be installed on non-domestic buildings, and they state that this will be in place from March 18.
The technologies assisted by this measure will include:
* Solar thermal panels;
* Solar photo voltaic panels;
* Pipework for ground source heat pumps;
* Pipework for water source heat pumps;
* Biomass boilers.
The Scottish Government’s Infrastructure Minister Keith Brown said:
“These changes will help cut red tape in the planning system and enable savings on energy bills. More use of microgeneration technologies such as solar panels can help Scots reduce their emissions and boost the development of a low carbon economy, which is key to Scotland’s future success as a nation, creating new jobs in an emerging industry.”
The government press release points out that roof and wall space on large buildings is ideal for solar or photovoltaic panels to generate heat and electricity for use on site. When there is a surplus excess electric power can be exported to the grid, or there may be other users respectively if a combined heat and power system is also provided.
Clearly, the emerging generation of lower capital cost photovoltaic cells (PVs) is the technology expected to be assisted most by this move. As Scotland is a northern country which experiences weaker sunshine than further south, uptake of PV technology will still be more likely to be more popular further south within the UK. However, the move is to be welcomed as another small step toward improved sustainability.
Also, with the recent further rise in the cost of oil due to the revolutionary turmoil, most recently in Libya, the cost benefits and payback period of PV technologies, are continually improving.
Heat pumps also provide an extremely energy-efficient way of converting the heat in the ground for space and hot water heating. These use the “flywheel” effect of the ground around and below our buildings which stays relatively warm even in cold weather, so the warmth can effectively be pulled from it, using less energy to do that than just “burn” the electrical energy for heating, as would have been done in the past.
The legislation is part of what the Scottish Government’s will have to do to achieve their renewable heat and electricity targets. More will also have to be done to incentivise the use of on-site renewable energy technologies if the government is to meet its targets.