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New weather energy report fronted by Chris Packham highlights the hidden power of the Great British weather

Southwest England is the ‘Costa Del Solar’ of the country, generating the most solar power per km2 and is host to three of the nation’s most productive solar farms according to a new ‘Weather Energy Report’1 which reveals:

  • Plymouth is Britain’s sunniest city with the potential to generate more solar power than any other city across the country
  • Scotland is home to the nation’s biggest onshore windfarms and top source of tidal power
  • Wales delivers the most hydro power from a single location – the Llyn Brianne Dam
  • Hornsea off the North Yorkshire coast takes the crown as producing the most off-shore wind energy in Britain’s - generating three times as much energy as any other location.

The Weather Energy Report was commissioned by Smart Energy GB to raise awareness of the hidden power in the great British weather. It is fronted by climate change activist Chris Packham, who is currently attending COP26, and stars as a weatherman in a short film to explain why having a smart meter installed can help everyone do their bit to help fight climate change.

Chris explains: “Britain is blessed with four distinct seasons with clear changes in the weather, which is full of energy, notably the wind and - although it feels rare – the sunshine. But our outdated energy system needs upgrading if it’s going to be able to convert more of this clean, renewable energy into electricity we can all use. That modern, flexible system will have smart meters at its heart. So, if you want to help reduce our country’s reliance on fossil fuels and hit our carbon emission targets then getting a smart meter is an easy place to start!”

New research reveals the public are increasingly worried about climate change but do not fully understand the positive role renewable energy can play. 76% are concerned about the impact of climate change, with Londoners being the most concerned (83%). Yet only 44% understand that smart meters could increase our country’s use of renewable energy and less than a third (30%) know how much of the country’s energy is generated from renewable sources2.

The potential to harness the great British weather is astronomical, with the 5 top solar farms in Britain generating an estimated 312 GWh per year, the equivalent of powering 91,771 electric cars to travel 20,000km each per year, or one electric car for over 1.8 billion kms!3

The Weather Energy Report was compiled by Dr Tim Forman of the University of Cambridge and reveals that Britain’s top 10 sunniest cities are:

Location Potential annual output (KWh/A)
1. Plymouth, South West 2,516
2. Exeter 2,480
3. London 2,346
4. Norwich 2,346
5. Oxford 2,322
6. Huddersfield 2,322
7. Liverpool 2,298
8. Manchester 2,297
9. Bristol 2,272
10. Sunderland 2,249


Smart Energy GB’s Iagan MacNeil said: “We commissioned the Weather Energy Report and teamed up with Chris to help people understand that when they get their smart meter installed, they’re helping our country get more energy from our powerful weather – and contributing to our fight against climate change.

“There is so much power yet to be harnessed across Britain, from our windy hilltops to our sunny skies and wave-pounded shores. But our outdated energy system just isn’t flexible enough to cope with our changeable weather conditions. It may be windy and sunny one day, and still and cloudy the next. We need a modern system that can monitor how much energy we’re using and how much is being produced, store excess and distribute it when and where it’s needed with minimal waste. We all need to work together to fight climate change – with the simple action of getting a smart meter installed, you can help the nation to harvest more clean energy from the great British weather.

“Almost 90% of people in the Britain (87%) are worried about increasing energy bills. The energy crisis shows that we have an over-reliance on gas for both heating and electricity. One of the best ways we can avoid volatile energy prices is to build as much domestic renewable capability as possible. Every single smart meter fitted across the country is a positive step towards a smarter nationwide energy system. A smart energy system, that can make better use of energy generated by our wind and sun, is an essential part of Britain’s commitment to reaching Net Zero carbon emissions.”

Smart meters are available for residential and micro business properties and installations are now taking place across Great Britain. To find out more contact your energy supplier or visit 

Top 5 Regions with highest potential for generating Solar Power

Location Potential annual output GWh/Km2/year
1. South West England 550
2. South East England 460
3. Greater London 443
4. East Anglia 438
5. East Midlands & Wales (joint 5th) 413


Top 5 Solar Farms

Location Estimated annual output (MWh/yr)
1. MOD Lyneham, Wiltshire 76,780
2. Shotwick, Flintshire 68,590
3. Owls Hatch, Kent 57,090
4. Wroughton Airfield, Wiltshire 55,000
5. Snarlton Farm, Wiltshire 54,560


Top 5 Onshore Wind Farms

Location Estimated annual output (GWh/yr)
1. Clyde Wind Farm, Strathclyde 955
2. Whitelee, Strathclyde 878
3. Kilgallioch, Dumfries & Galloway 652
4. Pen Y Cymoedd, Port Talbot 622
5. Stronelairg, Highland 622


Top 5 Offshore Wind Farms

Location Estimated Annual Output (GWh/yr)
1. Hornsea 1& 2, 120 km off the East coast of England 7,092
2. Triton Knoll, 33km off the Lincolnshire coast 2,338
3. East Anglia 1, 48 km off East of England 1,948
4. Walney 3, 4km off Walney Island, Irish Sea 1,800
5. London Array, 20km off the Kent and Essex coasts 1,719


Top 5 Tidal Power locations

Location Estimated Annual Output (GWh/yr)
1. Pentland Skerries, Pentland Firth 4,526
2. Duncansby Head, Highland 1,699
3. South Ronaldsay to Swona 1030
4. Pentland Hoya, Pentland Firth 714
5. Foreland Point, Wales/South West 438


Top 5 Hydro Energy Generation Plants

Location Estimated Annual Output (GWh/yr)
1. Lyn Brianne Dam, Powys 14.2
2. Invergarigaig, Inverness-shire 12.9
3. Dalchonzie, Tayside 12.9
4. Lubreach, Tayside 12.9
5. Maldie Burn, Highland 12.9



Notes to editors

1. Data research carried out by Cambridge University in October 2021
2. Research conducted by Opinium, September 2021

About smart meters and the rollout

Smart meters are the next generation of digital gas and electricity meters, providing automatic meter readings and near-real time energy use information for households.

Smart meters and the information they provide will help Britain to achieve net zero by allowing for better management of energy demand and supply, providing people with the visibility needed to reduce their usage, and making the best and most efficient use of wind and solar power. Innovative technology and services enabled by smart metering is pivotal in allowing our country to decarbonise and have more electric vehicles.

Smart meters are available from energy suppliers at no extra cost, and the accompanying in-home display shows energy use in pounds and pence. 24.2 million smart meters have already been installed across Britain.

About Smart Energy GB

Smart Energy GB is the not-for-profit, government-backed campaign helping everyone in Britain to understand the importance of smart meters and their benefits to people and the environment. Our national campaign is reaching homes and microbusinesses across England, Scotland and Wales. For more information visit