NEW figures show Southampton homeowners lead the county when it comes to green energy.

A survey by a solar panel specialist showed that 671 households in the city took advantage of a government scheme for free installations, compared to just six in neighbouring Winchester.

The next highest was Havant with 287.

Freetricity, who supply the panels in the south east, said since 2011, 1330 Hampshire homes had free installations – placing the county top in the UK.

Freetricity chief executive officer, Paul Williams, said: “The people of Hampshire are really ahead of the game. With news of energy shortages, I believe the future really is green.”

Meanwhile, a survey by energy watchdog OfGEM shows Hampshire tops the UK for all solar panel installations, free or otherwise, with a total of 14,441 up to December 2012.