Cllr Sanderson, left, welcomed UKPNS's David Mitchell. Credit: NCC

Northumberland council launches solar car port array 

Designer and builder UK Power Network Services is working with the local authority on the £3.8m project, which will provide energy to County Hall in Morpeth.

The scheme is backed by ERDF match-funding of £1.9m. It is close to completion and should be fully operational by mid-September.

Northumberland County Council said that the array is the third largest of its kind in the country. The project has been brought about by upgrading the refurbishment of the council’s 40-year old staff car park.

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.

The solar PV car port farm is expected to generate around 40% of County Hall’s usage requirements. When combined with the roof-based solar PV, it is estimated that 50% of County Hall’s energy needs will be met with solar-generated energy.

Between £100,000 and £150,000 is expected to be saved on energy costs each year, with 250 tonnes of carbon emissions cut.

Cllr 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.”

Energy from the solar panels will also be used to power EV charge points.

David Mitchell, director of UK Power Networks Services, described the project as “pivotal”, adding: 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.”

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