Nottingham flicks the switch on solar carport

A leisure centre in Nottingham is set to save the local council an estimated £10,000 on energy bills and reduce carbon emissions by 41 tonnes thanks to the installation of an 88KWp solar carport.

The 354-panel solar array, constructed by commercial solar PV developer EvoEnergy for Nottingham City Council will generate 79,874kWh of on-site energy across nine separate, specially-built roofs at the Ken Martin Leisure Centre.

Fitted over three months between November and January, the Ken Martin solar carport was completed before the Government’s recent cuts to the Feed-in Tarriff (FiT). The system is on course to pay for itself within 11 years, after which point it will earn Nottingham City Council an income for the remaining nine years of the FiT.

Nottingham City Council’s portfolio holder for energy and sustainability Alan Clark described the solar carport an “ingenious solution” for generating income and lowering the city’s carbon emissions.

“Car parks although serving a practical purpose and very necessary for our thousands of customers that visit our leisure centres are not usually seen as cutting edge,” Clark said. “It’s really exciting that we have been able to extend the usefulness of this space and invest in a green energy supply for Nottingham.”

‘Success story’

EvoEnergy project manager Michael Brien added: “This installation posed a number of challenges to our team on-site, but the team at Ken Martin were extremely happy with the way we worked around their day-to-day operations, causing them as little disruption as possible. The results have impressed them too, thanks to the work of our technical team, who’ve made sure the latest technology was used to help keep it performing efficiently for the duration of its Feed-in Tariff (FiT).”

The announcement comes in the same week that the UK’s first two installed solar carports received a pair of national awards following their recent completion. The two 150 Kw systems, built on the top decks of multi-story car parks in Exeter, picked up the Innovation Award at the Western Morning News Business Awards and the Most Sustainable Public Sector Project (Innovation Award) at the Public Sector Sustainability Awards in London.

Designed and installed by SunGift Energy for Exeter City Council, the 500-panel carports impressed judges for their capacity to generate 285,227 kWh of free electricity and save more than 150 tonnes of CO2 per year.

Solar VAT

These solar carport announcements come after the European Commission published an Action Plan on VAT which revealed plans to give national governments ‘more autonomy’ in how they grant lower rates.

Last month, edie reported that Government proposals to increase VAT on solar panel installations were rejected by MPs, following speculation of a ‘rebellion’ backlash had the move hone ahead. Leading industry body the Solar Trade Association (STA) is now calling upon the Government to push through its intentions to apply a reduced rate of 5% VAT on solar PVs and solar thermal panels.

STA head of external affairs Leonie Greene commented: “The domestic solar market is undergoing challenging adjustments and both the industry and householders need to know that there will be no unfair increase in solar VAT. What we need now is a clear statement from Treasury to confirm the industry can count on the positive statements already given by Ministers. It would be a nonsense to impose VAT on solar at 20% while retaining 5% for grid electricity, gas and oil.

“The EU decision today shows a clear intention to increase flexibility for member states on VAT decisions. Post the Paris Climate Agreement, the political priorities the EU says will inform the new VAT regime will surely include the need to rapidly decarbonise our energy supply.”

Late last week, new figures from Ofgem revealed that the amount of household solar power capacity installed in the past two months has plummeted by three quarters following the Government’s cuts to subsidies.


On-site solutions at edie Live

On-site sustainability solutions are one of the key topics to be discussed in depth at the edie Live 2016 exhibition at the NEC Birmingham in May. 

From the UK’s largest on-site solar installations to small-scale, single-site solutions, hear from those sustainability professionals that have already done the work and are making it happen for their business.

Register to attend edie Live 2016 here.


George Ogleby

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