Northumberland County Council has unveiled its new solar car port which will be used to power its HQ building, provide electricity to EV charge points for staff vehicles, as well as stored to help optimise carbon efficiency.
The project includes a covered parking area at the council’s headquarters at County Hall in Morpeth, with a canopy made from 800kW photovoltaic (PV) panels, designed and built by UK Power Networks Services.
A total of 120 EV charge points have been installed in the staff car park, including 100 fast chargers and 20 rapid chargers including some dedicated for accessible parking bays.
In addition, there is a 400kW battery energy storage system with smart controls to optimise energy use, carbon emissions and costs throughout the day.
It is anticipated the new solar energy infrastructure will save between £100,000 and £150,000 on energy costs each year, as well as more than 250 tonnes of carbon emissions.
The investment is part-funded by the England European Regional Development Fund with match-funding from the council, which it plans to recoup through energy savings.
Councillor Glen Sanderson, council leader and Cabinet member for Climate Change said, “It’s great to see this initiative finally come to fruition which will save a massive amount on council energy supply spending and will also reduce the need for us to rely on fossil fuels to power our main building.”
David Mitchell, director of UK Power Networks Services said, “We are delighted to be delivering such a pivotal project for Northumberland County Council to assist in their objective of reducing carbon emissions in half by 2025.
“This solar energy infrastructure is one of the largest solar car port installations in the UK and will change the way the Council’s fleet operate to reduce cost and improve carbon efficiency.”