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Solar panels on the roofs of homes under the sun

Which UK regions are most improved when it comes to renewable energy?

It’s been 25 years since the first home installation of solar panels took place, with the cost at the time exceeding £18,000. Since then the numbers have increased to the thousands. This trend, coupled with the UK’s climate sustainability CO₂ goal of achieving net-zero emissions, has resulted in a dramatic rise in renewable installations across the UK.

With the recent release of the government’s Regional Renewable Statistics, Uswitch has analysed the increase in the number of new renewable installations across different local authorities to see which places have done the most to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and the grid.

Renewable installations per region over the past 5 years:

Stoke-on-Trent has seen the biggest increase in renewable installations in the past five years. The Staffordshire town has increased its installations, nearly entirely made up of photovoltaics, by 2,706, or an 86% increase from its original total in 2015.

Cornwall, which has the highest overall number of installations of any region, with 18,456, has finished as a close second, racking up 2,308, a 14% increase over the last half-decade. Stirling, the highest non-English region, is also the only other to break the 2,000 installation barrier, nearly doubling its total from 2,235 to 4,336.

Six more regions: North Lincolnshire, Aberdeenshire, Boston, Durham, Nottingham and Northampton, have increased their totals by over 1,000 installations, with the biggest jump in terms of the percentage being Boston, jumping from 1,169 to 2,281, or 95% overall.

Renewable installations per region over the past year:

The top three regions in one-year increases remain unchanged from the five-year table, highlighting that for the most part, their commitment to renewable installations has been a consistent trend. In Stoke, however, the majority of installations have occurred in 2019, with the previous four years only increasing the totals by 625, compared to 2,081 in the last year of statistics alone.

Cornwall and Stirling continue to show their commitment to renewable energy, with steady increases. They both averaged an estimated 400 installations per year, which is inline with their 12-month increase of 442 and 348 respectively. Aberdeenshire increases a place when ranking in the past year alone, with its 244 installations good for fourth place. 

Despite being one of the highest-ranking regions over the last five years, Boston falls out of the top 15 when it comes to recent installation numbers, totalling only 20 installations in the past year, compared to 875 in 2015/16. All of the regions in the top 15 showed increases of triple figures, with the fewest being Fife with 107, going from 4,385 to 4,684 installations.

The statistics show the continued investment locally on renewable installations in the home. The recent government report also shows that photovoltaics or solar panels have been the option of choice for renewable energy installations, with 990,966 fitted across all local authorities by 2019. 

Following behind in second place is onshore wind turbines with 9,887. However, there's a total of 1,004,272 renewable installations across the UK with hydro, anaerobic digestion, offshore wind, wave/tidal, sewage gas, landfill gas, municipal solid waste, animal biomass, plant biomass and cofiring making up the remainder.

If you're interested in installing a renewable energy source, you can read more on the available options here: Renewable energy sources. Alternatively, you can switch to a "green" plan to ensure that the energy you receive from your supplier is sustainable.