The Crown Office is powering ahead with a push towards solar energy across its Scottish offices in an effort to cut both its carbon footprint and public costs.

Solar panels have been installed on procurator fiscal offices in Falkirk, Hamilton, Glasgow, Dumbarton, Elgin, Airdrie, and the Crown Office in Edinburgh.

The North Lanarkshire town was the latest to join the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service's (COPFS) green revolution but it is off to strong start. 

A total of 132 panels were installed just in November but are already generating 61 KwH - the equivalent of the energy needed to power 20 average homes. 

While Scotland may be known for its rainy weather, on sunny days the building is now regularly self-sufficient without requiring power from the national grid, the COPFS said. 

It is anticipated this office alone will save a massive 8.7 tonnes of carbon each year. 

Overall, an investment in green power over the course of 2022 saw the solar generation in COPFS buildings rise by 126%. 

The move is helping reduce the service's energy use from the national grid all year round, with the panels still working on cloudy days. 

The solar panels work best during direct sunlight and get an extra boost during the long summer days. 

Efforts to transition to renewable energy date back to 2015 when the first panels were put on the roof of the Falkirk procurator fiscal offices. 

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These panels originally generated 3200 KwH each year – the equivalent of boiling a kettle 13,000 times.

However, in 2022 an additional 34 more efficient panels were installed on the building’s east-facing side leading to a near 80% boost in energy savings. 

The Glasgow office is also producing vast amounts of renewable energy each year. 

Its 106 panels produced over 16,500 KwH of power last year and new panels are expected to generate a further 25,000 KwH by the end of this year.

Meanwhile, the Hamilton location is often off-grid during the long summer days just like its near neighbour Airdrie. 

The Herald: Hamilton Procurator Fiscal’s office.Hamilton Procurator Fiscal’s office. (Image: COPFS)

Les Brown, Procurator Fiscal for South Lanarkshire, said: “The Procurator Fiscal office at Airdrie is showing the art of the possible, modern working places with cutting-edge sustainable energy solutions. 

“Given that the technology will continue to improve and become more efficient, I am sure that with the assistance and support of our staff, we can make our workplaces carbon neutral in the future, meeting our commitments.

“I’m very proud that our offices in SSDG are playing such an important role in leading the way in the use of renewable energy.”

The panels have already had a huge impact on the COPFS' ongoing commitment to help tackle climate change

They are all linked to targets drawn up by the COPFS Climate Change Working Group.

Overall, the service aims to be entirely carbon neutral by 2040 with a strategy of reducing the carbon emissions of their properties by 2.5% each year. 

Solar panels can make effective use of any available daylight at any time of the year but benefit especially from longer days in the summer months. 

Solar power is created through the installation of solar panels which contain solar Photovoltaic (PV) cells.

The Herald:

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These cells generate electricity by absorbing sunlight and using that light energy to create an electrical current.

Batteries are used to make the process more efficient by storing solar energy overnight to be used when there is no sunlight. The COPFS is still exploring the best use for the excess energy generated at some of the sites and this may include batteries. 

The renewable energy aims of the COPFS align with Scottish Government commitments set out in Holyrood’s own draft energy transition plan for 2023.

Solar power seems to be on the up in Scotland and the Herald previously reported that ScottishPower is set to become a UK leader in the development of the energy type. 

The utility giant, which is part of the Iberdrola Group, has signed two deals to acquire 17 photovoltaic projects.

It has pledged to invest around £500million in solar renewable projects.