2023 has been a good year for solar power generation in Scotland.

Scottish Government solar ambition

In October the Scottish Government announced a proposal for a solar deployment ambition of 4-6GW by 2030.


It is good to see the announcement that work is starting on the 19.9MW Glasgow Airport solar farm.

Barriers to deployment are well-known, especially availability of grid capacity/ connection. The Scottish Government announcement is subject to a condition for local scale solar projects to provide an appropriate level of community benefit - there are concerns that expectations of the amounts that can be paid might undermine the viability of projects.


The consenting process is a barrier to deployment, but should be smoother following the publication by the Scottish Ministers of National Planning Framework 4 in February, introducing strong policy support for all forms of renewable energy development, including solar.

In particular, localised landscape and visual impacts "will generally be considered to be acceptable"; and development on prime agricultural land will be supported, if the layout and design minimises the amount of protected land which is required.

Permitted development rights

Deployment can be accelerated for smaller scale projects through permitted development rights (PDR), which avoids the delays in the planning application process.

In May the Scottish Government consulted on expanding PDR for solar panels on domestic and non-domestic buildings. They aim to introduce the new measures early in 2024.

For non-domestic buildings, the proposals include the removal of the energy output limits; and new PDR for free-standing solar panels within the curtilage.


Neil Collar