Installing solar panels above car parks in the UK could generate enough energy to power 1.7 million homes, according to solar developer Hive Energy.

Giles Redpath, founder of Hive Energy, said so-called ‘solar carports’ could be the “next exciting frontier” for solar in the UK, while the RAC Foundation has estimated that there’s approximately 17,000 non-residential car parks in the UK, 93% of which are not covered.

“Solar car park shelters offer the UK a chance to generating clean, renewable power right at the heart of our town and city centres where it’s needed. We predict they’ll be a common and welcome sight here in the UK within the next five years, making safe, clean and affordable energy for all of us,” Redpath said.

Hive said it was in discussions with a number of “high-profile names” to create solar car parks in the country and hoped the UK could emulate the likes of Germany and the US, the latter of which installed 600MW of capacity at car parks in 2014.