More than 50% of the solar panels needed to achieve the government’s net zero targets can be installed on rooftops and car parks.
That’s according to a new report commissioned by the countryside charity CPRE, which indicates that decarbonising the grid requires less land than previously anticipated.
According to the report, the majority of the necessary solar capacity can be accommodated in existing buildings and car parks, enjoying nearly universal public support.
This approach not only minimises objections to large solar farms in rural areas but also utilises urban brownfield sites more effectively for renewable energy generation, the authors of the report have said.
The report emphasises the need for a national rooftop solar target of at least 40GW by 2035, urging the government to make the installation of solar panels a requirement for planning permission in major refurbishments and new residential, commercial and industrial buildings.
CPRE’s Chief Executive, Roger Mortlock, has highlighted the importance of a transition to renewables and calls for the planning system to align with net zero goals.
He advocates for rooftop solar to become a standard feature in all new buildings, emphasising the need to utilize available roof space efficiently.
Professor Mark Barrett from the UCL Energy Institute, the lead author of the research, points out that the study identified ample solar capacity on rooftops and car parks in urban areas.
He highlighted the cost-effectiveness of installing photovoltaic panels on car parks and new large buildings while acknowledging that retrofitting existing homes could be more expensive.