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Each Chinese-made solar panel will take up to 20 years to replace the energy it took to ship it to Scotland, it is estimated.

SCOTLAND faces being blighted by massive solar power farms which produce tiny amounts of electricity while sucking up huge cash grants for the companies who build them.

Despite Scotland’s cloudy and wet climate – including snow over the last few days – renewable energy grants raise the prospect of firms trebling the amount they can earn from any ‘green’ energy produced.

The bizarre policy, brought in by the last Labour administration in Westminster, has been heavily criticised for propping up inefficient wind and wave power schemes.

The taxpayer-funded subsidies are so high that foreign firms are said to be looking for cheap land to buy in northern Scotland to set up acres of photo-voltaic panels.

This is despite experts insisting the weather required to run solar panels efficiently makes them “uneconomical” anywhere north of central France.

Dr Alan Owen, who is director of the Centre for Understanding Sustainable Practice at the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, is a leading critic.

He said: “It’s ridiculous that taxpayers are paying for photo-voltaics when it’s not really appropriate for Scotland.”

Each Chinese-made solar panel will take up to 20 years to replace the energy it took to ship it to Scotland, it is estimated.

It is thought two new proposals for solar farms around Buchan, near Peterhead, for 350 panels each, will be submitted to Aberdeenshire Council in the next two months.

Daily Express, 16 March 2011