As Scotland looks to use renewable energy for 100% of its energy needs by 2020, they’re set for a record breaking year. Department of Energy and Climate Change statistics suggest that the country will generate a third of its electrical needs from renewable sources by the end of the year.

The main 2020 target is on track according to specialists, with heat pumps, solar panels, biomass boilers, hydroelectricity sites and wind turbines all putting in their fair share. Last year Scotland produced 4.3GW of renewable energy and became a net exporter of electricity, selling 21% of all electricity generated.

In fact the Scottish renewables industry is looking up for the foreseeable future, with Energy Minster Fergus Ewing announcing £750m of renewable energy projects were switched on during 2011. This is coupled with another £46bn in the pipeline.

The DECC also showed that renewable energy across the country has risen by 12%. And it was good news all round as coal and gas use fell by 4% and 6% respectively. Nuclear power was also a big winner, increasing by 21%.

The need for renewable energy solutions comes after global warming has increased dramatically over the last decade. The burning of fossil fuels creates carbon dioxide, which is a major ingredient in the warming of the planet.

And renewable energy products such as solar panels, heat pumps and wind turbines, help reduce carbon emissions by generating electricity from natural sources.

On a domestic level, renewable energy is needed to combat the ever-rising cost of gas and electricity bills. 2011 has seen another increase from the major energy suppliers and more homeowners have been pushed into fuel poverty. This is when 10% of your income is used to cover energy costs.

Renewable energy products generate free heat and electricity, and you can also take advantage of government schemes such as the feed-in tariff to earn money for every unit of electricity generated. The Renewable Heat Incentive and boiler scrappage scheme in Scotland are two more government initiatives to promote energy saving.