Solar carports are the next hot topic in the solar industry, set to transform grey windy carparks into “energy hubs” generating cheap, green electricity for buildings and electric vehicles. The concept is well established in the US and EU countries, but carpark owners in the UK have remained cautious up until now – with Nottingham City Council taking lead.
The client Nottingham City Council saw this as the ideal opportunity to pilot a large scale solar carport at Harvey Hadden Leisure Centre which was due to be reopened. Indeed, the pressure was on for full commissioning of the solar carport for the 9th August opening ceremony of the Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association (CPISRA) 2015 World Games.
Canopies over 40 car parking spaces support an array of 448 solar panels, delivering 56 MWhrs of electricity per year – enough to power 20 homes. Combining feed-in tariffs and reduced costs of purchasing energy, Nottingham City Council were forecast to generate over £10,000 revenue per year from the project.
As a solar and structures specialist, FlexiSolar worked with Sitec Infrastructure Services and EPC EvoEnergy, as well as project managers TSCC. FlexiSolar was instrumental in the design phase and project conception bringing a wealth of solar PV and structures knowledge to the team to deliver what was the UK’s largest and most ambitious solar carpark at the time.
Managing Director Robert Carpenter of FlexiSolar said
“I am very hopeful that the solar industry and carpark owners will take note of this landmark structure. We need to demonstrate capability and drive costs down. And our next solar carport installation is set to achieve cost parity with solar rooftop installations – an important milestone for this maturing technology.”