The Solar Trade Association (STA) has praised local authorities for “leading the way on solar”.

A new report from the trade body said councils are “building modern solar homes, developing ‘subsidy-free’ solar farms, master planning ‘smart’ neighbourhoods and using solar to save money and provide stable sources of revenue to fund services”.

The report highlighted 26 cases studies, including a subsidy-free 7.4MW solar farm with 4MW battery storage by West Sussex Country Council, a business park connected to a solar farm using a private wire opened by Perth & Kinross Council, and innovative tendering schemes by Portsmouth City Council that has installed nearly 5MW of solar on 300 buildings.

The STA said that local authorities are in a “unique” position to make the economics of solar projects attractive given exceptional terms of borrowing, long project timescales, secure off-takers for the power generated and easy access to council-owned land and roof space.

‘Don’t wait on national government’

Chris Hewett, the STA’s Chief Executive, said: “Leadership on solar in the UK today comes from local councils, and increasingly from regional government.

“We’ve been impressed by the level of innovation and political leadership being demonstrated today by some councils.

“Our message to councils is don’t wait on national government; there is a lot you can do today with solar and the UK solar industry wants to work with you to help meet your climate, air quality and economic goals.”

> See the STA's statement