MONMOUTHSHIRE and Torfaen are leading the way in Gwent in terms of solar panel installations in homes, according to new UK government figures.

The two areas are the second and third highest in Wales respectively – behind Wrexham – in terms of the number of installations per 10,000 households.

In Monmouthshire, the rate is 327 per 10,000, and in Torfaen it is 301 per 10,000.

But other parts of Gwent are lagging well behind.

Caerphilly has 151 installations per 10,000 households, and Newport 149 per 10,000, with Blaenau Gwent (78 per 10,000) having the lowest rate of Wales’ 22 local authority areas.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change figures show that more than 23,000 Welsh homes now have solar panels, which generate electricity for their own use and feed surplus power back to the grid.

The panels are proving more popular in Wales than the rest of Britain, with 177 installations per 10,000 Welsh homes, well above the British average of 118.