CROP Solar energy

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Renewable energy resources 

 Wind Energy Icon Biomass Hydro Solar Energy Heat Pumps Anaerobic Digestion Wave Energy Tidal energy

Identifying what renewable energy resources you have can help to inform what type of project you should take forward. There are a number of freely available sources of information to assist a community to decide on what type of project to develop.

Take a look at our matrix to help to identify which technologies might be most suited to your community.

Solar Basics

Solar EnergySolar energy is energy provided by the Sun which can be harnessed to heat water or to generate electricity. There are two kinds of solar panel; solar thermal panels are used to heat water while solar photovoltaic (PV) panels are used to generate electricity. Solar thermal and solar PV panels are usually mounted on top of buildings, although they can be ground mounted, and provide hot water or electricity (or both) directly to the building, in turn reducing the running costs. Solar panels can operate using light and so can provide heat or light even in adverse weather conditions.

Thanks to the introduction of the Feed in Tariff (FiT) financial incentive scheme, stand-alone solar PV arrays that provide electricity directly to the electricity grid have become more common place in Scotland.Maps Changes to the FIT have affected the viability of some schemes of consideration should be given to the new rates.

Despite being located on the west coast of Scotland, well designed and sited solar panels can perform well in Argyll and Bute.

A number of communities are using solar panels to reduce running costs and generate revenue at community buildings, one such organisation is the Easdale Island Community Hall.

To see other developments in your area view our interactive renewables map.

Case studies of community renewable projects can be found at

Community Energy Scotland  Local Energy Scotland Plan Local Scottish Gov 

All have good case studies of community renewable projects around the country.

To find out more about solar technology and how it works please see the links provided below:

Local Energy Scotland Solar Panel Handbook and Solar Water Heating Handbook.

Plan Local Plan LoCaL online resource which provides details on how to utilise solar panels and includes an online film introducing the topic of solar.

Energy saving trustsolar photovoltaic and solar thermal webpages provide an overview.

Community Energy Scotland logo Community Renewable Energy ToolkitSection 1 of the toolkit provides an overview of the basics of energy production, renewable energy and carbon counting whilst Sections 3.1 and 3.2 of the toolkit include details on the fundamentals of solar, a checklist of requirements for installing solar panels and links to case studies. 


The following organisations can provide assistance in developing a solar project:

 Council logo

Check out the CROP Support page for help in setting your own renewables project.CROP - Support

You can get advice from our Planning team.

The Community Development Team can assist in local consultation or developing a community action plan.

The Social Enterprise Team can assist with advice regarding social enterprises, grants and funding.


Local Energy ScotlandThe Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scotland (CARES) scheme is delivered by Local Energy Scotland, which aims to enable community and rural business uptake of renewable energy.  The CARES Toolkit will guide you through developing a renewable energy project and includes specific guidance on hydro energy.

 Community Energy logoCommunity Energy Scotland (CES) provide free and impartial advice to community organisations.

CentreforSustainableEnergylogoThe Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) is an independent charity that provides advice, guidance and training to individuals, groups and organisations throughout the UK looking to become more sustainable.

Energy saving trustThe Energy Saving Trust offer free and impartial advice on small scale renewable energy technologies including hydro.  The EST’s renewable energy selector tool will help you to find out which renewable energy technology will benefit you most. Please note that the EST renewable selector tool only applies to domestic buildings.

Resource efficent ScotlandResource Efficient Scotland is a Scottish Government funded programme which helps businesses, the public sector and the third sector save money by using resources more efficiently.  The programme builds on the previous Scottish Government funded business and public sector advice services delivered by Zero Waste Scotland, Carbon Trust and EST so that advice on energy, water, materials and waste can be accessed from a single service.

DepartmentforEnergyandClimateChangelogoThe Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) works to make sure the UK has secure, clean, affordable energy supplies and promote international action to mitigate climate change. As part of this remit DECC provides an overview of the advice available for people and organisations interested in developing a community owned renewable energy project in the UK.

HIEHighlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) are the Scottish Government's economic and community development agency for the north and west of Scotland that aims to generate sustainable economic growth in every part of the Highlands and Islands.  HIE recognises that communities can benefit significantly from renewable energy and provides support and advice to businesses and social enterprises looking to benefit from the renewables industry.

Foresty CommissionThe Forestry Commission are working with communities who want to develop hydro energy projects on Forestry Commission land.