When it comes to sunlight not all parts of the UK are created equally. From the north of Scotland to the most southerly tip of Cornwall is a distance of almost 600 miles. This distance has quite a dramatic effect on the amount f sunshine or solar insolation that reaches different parts of the country.
Solar photovoltaic panels turn the energy coming from the Sun into electrical energy. The farther north that you go from the equator the less energy from the Sun lands on the ground due to the Earth being round the available sunlight is spread over a larger area in higher latitudes. As the UK is roughly aligned north to south with Scotland being in the north and Cornwall in the south, the southern parts of the UK tend to get more energy per kWh/m²/day than in more northerly regions of the country.
On average this would mean that if 2 identical solar installations were placed at each end of the country the one in Cornwall should in theory produce about 20% more electricity than the one installed in Scotland. This is the reason why most of the solar panels installed in the UK are installed in the south.
The list below gives an indication of how much electricity every 1 kilowatt of installed solar may generate in different parts of the country. The list shows the City, how much kWh of electricity would be produced and how much you would earn in feed in tariffs over one year at the current rate of 43.4.3 pence per kWh. It must be stressed these figures are for illustrative purposes only to show the difference installing solar in different parts of the country has.
As you can see from the figures that someone installing a solar system on their roof in the far south is going to be much better off financially. Whilst someone in Scotland would only earn £333 per year of every kilowatt of solar installed the same installation in the south would have earned over eighty pounds more.
Due to the more favourable conditions in the south for solar, particularly in Cornwall and along much of the south coast the free solar panel companies tend to prioritise application requests in those areas first. This is purely due to the fact that they are providing free systems and want to ensure that they recoup there costs.
This does not mean however that it is not profitable to install solar in Scotland. You can still make a sizeable tax free profit if you buy and install your own solar photovoltaic system. The only difference is that the amount of profit that you make will be less than a similar system installed further south.
The difference in the amount of sunshine that falls on different parts of the UK is only really going to have a big effect on companies installing free solar panels. As they have a business model based on making as much profit as possible they are going to choose home closer to the south over more northerly locations. If you are buying solar photovoltaic panels and getting them installed then you will still make a tax free profit from doing so no matter where you live.
There are a few anomalies around the country when comes to insolation. The south coast of Wales is just as sunny as Cornwall. Grimsby gets about the same levels of insolation as parts of Devon. Norfolk and parts of Lincolnshire are also good places to install solar although they are often overlooked.
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For every kWp of solar panels you install you could be earning up to £500 a year. That means a 3kWp system could earn you up to £1,500 a year for 25 years.
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