Northumberland City Council amped about latest solar panel project

The council recently launched one of the biggest solar car ports in the UK at its headquarters

Northumberland County Council is celebrating the launch of its new state-of-the-art solar car port array – one of the biggest of its kind in the UK.

The £3.8 million project, which includes a covered parking area with a canopy made from photovoltaic (PV) panels, has been designed and built by UK Power Network Services and will help provide clean energy to the Council’s headquarters at County Hall in Morpeth.

The 40-year-old staff car park has undergone major refurbishment work, providing a timely opportunity for the council to upgrade its energy provision so that it is ready for the future.

The investment is part-funded by the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 with match-funding from the council, which it plans to recoup through energy savings. 

Once completed, the solar PV carport farm will generate approximately 40 percent of County Hall’s usage requirements. When combined with the roof-based solar PV, it is estimated that 50 percent of County Hall’s energy needs will be met with solar generated energy.

Between £100,000 and £150,000 is anticipated to be saved on energy costs each year, which can be invested in Council services. 

As well as this, it is estimated over 250 tonnes of carbon emissions will be saved each year assisting the council to meet its target of cutting its own emissions in half by 2025. 

Making history

Councillor Glen Sanderson, Council Leader and Cabinet member for Climate Change said: “This is a historical moment for Northumberland County Council and one we should be very proud of. 

“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.

“I want to say a huge thank you to everyone involved in making this happen. It is a real example of using innovative technologies to move us towards a cleaner and more sustainable future.”

The new solar energy infrastructure is the third biggest installation of its type in the UK.

Energy from the solar panels will be used to power the main building, provide electricity to electric vehicle (EV) charge points, and stored to help optimise costs and carbon efficiency.