Northumberland County Council is proud over the recent unveiling of its cutting-edge solar carport array, making a significant mark as one of the largest installations of its kind in the UK. Crafted at a cost of £3.8 million, this innovative project boasts a covered parking area featuring a canopy constructed entirely from photovoltaic (PV) panels. This innovative initiative is set to revolutionize the Council’s energy landscape, providing a clean energy source to power its headquarters at County Hall in Morpeth.
The project’s focal point was the extensive overhaul of the 40-year-old staff car park, presenting an opportune moment for the council to revamp its energy infrastructure. The solar carport array stands as a testament to the council’s forward-thinking approach, ensuring that its energy solutions align seamlessly with future demands.
This venture received a financial boost from the England European Regional Development Fund under the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Council complemented this support with its own funding, anticipating that the investment would be recouped through energy savings in the long run.
Upon completion, this solar PV car port farm is expected to fulfill a substantial 40 percent of County Hall’s energy requirements. When integrated with the existing roof-based solar PV system, it is estimated that a remarkable 50 percent of the energy needs of County Hall will be met through solar-generated power. Financially, this translates to substantial savings, ranging between £100,000 and £150,000 annually, funds that can be channeled back into vital Council services.
Beyond the monetary gains, the environmental impact of this initiative is equally profound. The Council foresees a reduction of over 250 tonnes of carbon emissions each year, a significant stride toward achieving its goal of halving its emissions by 2025. This accomplishment echoes Councillor Glen Sanderson’s sentiments, the Council Leader and Cabinet member for Climate Change, who hailed this achievement as a historic moment for Northumberland County Council. He emphasized the project’s role in curbing energy spending while diminishing the Council’s reliance on fossil fuels.
This groundbreaking solar initiative also solidifies the Council’s commitment to environmental stewardship, with the energy generated from these panels earmarked for powering the main building and electric vehicle (EV) charging points. Surplus energy will be strategically stored, optimizing both costs and carbon efficiency.
Northumberland County Council’s colossal solar carport array stands not only as a testament to technological innovation but also as a beacon of environmental responsibility. With this pioneering project, the Council takes a giant leap toward a cleaner, greener, and more sustainable future, setting a shining example for others to follow.