CO₂ Emissions Savings from Residential Solar Panels in the UK
Due to technological developments and the increasing popularity of solar panels, in 2017 a total average of more than 1.2 billion kg of CO₂ was saved in the UK by residential solar panels alone.
However, back in 2007, prior to reaching these positive figures, the total CO₂ emission in the UK was peaking at meager 544.61 million tonnes according to the UK Greenhouse Gas Inventory report. Therefore, huge improvements have already been made in the past ten years. Check here our recent post about GHE emissions by EU country.
Based on these findings, GreenMatch conducted a study on 381 local authorities in the UK to analyse and present the average amount of CO₂ emission saved in 2017.
Top 50 Highest CO₂ Saving Local Authorities in the UK
The latest study conducted by GreenMatch found that an average household in the top 50 highest CO₂ saving UK local authorities saved more than 92 kg of CO₂ in 2017.
Based on the average CO₂ saving per household, GreenMatch calculated the collective CO₂ savings of the top 50 local authorities, amounting to a total average of 250,216,171 kg of CO₂ in 2017.
This amount of CO₂ is equivalent to driving an average car for more than 1,106 years. This is only the top 50 highest average CO₂ saving local authorities in the UK, all of which you can find on the map below.
Additionally, GreenMatch calculated the overall average for all the local authorities in the United Kingdom, and the amount of CO₂ they saved in 2017 from residential solar panels installations.
The result concluded that all 381 local authorities in the UK saved a staggering 1,227,420,962.16 kg CO₂ in 2017 just by having residential solar panels installed. This corresponds to a non-stop flight with a Boeing 747 for more than 4 years and 5 months.
Top 3 Highest CO₂ Saving Local Authorities in the UK
Peterborough is the local authority in the UK that had the highest average CO₂ savings per household, saving almost 160 kg of CO₂ in 2017. Surprisingly, none of the major cities, such as London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Edinburgh, or Liverpool made our top 50 list.
Although the average saving of Peterborough may not seem like a lot at first, but taking into consideration the number of households with solar panels installed, which was also the highest in Peterborough (8,917 households), GreenMatch calculated that approximately 12,662,140 kg of CO₂ was saved in Peterborough alone.
This means, that an average car could be driven for 211,035.667 hours non-stop, which is more than 24 years, just thanks to one local authority’s average CO₂ savings.
Mid Devon comes in second place, with 10.38% of households having solar panels installed. The average CO₂ saving in Mid Devon was 147.4 kg per household in 2017, which in total adds up to 5,067,980 kg of CO₂. This equates to watching a 42-inch LCD TV for more than 3,465 years continuously.
South Hams is ranked third, with 128.96 kg of average CO₂ savings per household in 2017. In this local authority, 9.08% of households have solar panels installed, which means a total average of 4,934,500 kg CO₂ was saved in 2017. To put this into perspective, the average CO₂ saved in South Hams is equal to a non-stop flight with a Boeing 747 for over 155 hours.
CO₂ Emission Savings By Regions in the UK
As you can see, while on the first map GreenMatch investigated the collection of UK local authorities, the second map analyses and presents the regional variation across the UK.
|0-25 kg||25-50 kg||Over 50 kg|
The two ends of the scale are represented by South West and London, being the highest and lowest saving regions respectively.
South West saved an average of 65.30 kg CO₂ per household. Unsurprisingly, two local authorities that are ranked in the top 3 on the first map are both located in the highest scoring region of South West.
London is the lowest saving region, with an average saving of 8.35 kg CO₂ per household.
Although, there are significant variations across the different regions, it does not necessarily mean a lower ranking region cannot have high saving individual local authorities. For example, the highest CO₂ saving local authority in the UK, Peterborough, is situated in the East England region, which is only the fifth on our regional map.
To find out how much specific local authorities in any of the regions from the second map saved in 2017, simply click on the specific regions below.
- South West
- East Midlands
- North East
- East of England
- Yorkshire and The Humber
- South East
- West Midlands
- North West
CO₂ Emissions Savings by Local Authority in the UK
In the following interactive table, the complete dataset can be seen, detailing the number of solar panel installations per local authority in the UK as well as the amount of CO₂ saved by them.
Metrics used throughout the research:
- Total number of households: Data from the Sub-regional Feed-in Tariffs report published by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.
- Total number of residential installations: Data from the Sub-regional Feed-in Tariffs report published by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.
- Percentage of households with solar panels: Calculated by dividing the total number of residential installations by the total number of households.
- Total CO₂ emissions savings in 2017 (tonnes): Calculated by multiplying 1.42 tonnes1 with the total number of residential installations.
- Average CO₂ savings per household in 2017 (kg) : Calculated by dividing the total CO₂ emissions savings in 2017 by the total number of households, and multiplying the result by 1,000.
For calculating how long it would take for certain activities to emit the specific amounts of CO₂ saved by local authorities, GreenMatch used Yousustain.com.
Northern Ireland was not included in the research since there was no data available regarding the number of residential solar panels installed.
1According to Energysavingtrust.org.uk, the average residential solar panel in the UK (4kW PV system) saves minimum 1.42 tonnes of CO₂ emissions/year.