Labour’s drive to get Exeter City Council generating green energy began back in 2014 . Solar Panels are now fitted across nearly every building Exeter City Council runs. This includes the civic centre, functional buildings like the recycling centre (Materials Recycling Facility MRF) Oakwood, Belle Isle, car parks and even the RAMM. This means that across the Council’s corporate assets the Council generate over 2MW of Solar PV.
Adding Solar Canopy PV charging to the top decks of two City Centre Car Parks (John Lewis and Mary Arches) was ground breaking when the Council had them fitted in September 2015.
They were the first canopy systems of their in the UK and were built car parks. It was estimated to generate 285,227 kwh per year of electricity and saving more than 150 tonnes of carbon. The two car parks comprise of 150kW systems each, which includes over 500 solar panels generating green energy for the grid and to power the carpark systems including the free public electric car charging port inside it.
Then in December 2015 the Council installed a array on the livestock centre, essentially a mini solar farm.
It comprises of a 1.5MW roof top array on the Council’s Livestock Centre. The building is carbon positive and generates 1.1gW per annum of renewable electricity. This is the equivalent to powering 180 homes, with a carbon saving equal to planting of 1600 trees.
The solar array provides a 25 year income stream, safeguarding the future of the City’s busy event’s venue and farmers market, supporting the local farming community. In addition, all shop units and businesses within the building, also receive the council’s renewable electricity supply via a Power Purchase Agreement, and benefit from a discounted green tariff, further supporting local business.
What’s not often recognised is the scale of the solar panels spread across all of the Labour led city council homes as well. The Council have them on 279 or its homes (this equates to about 6% of them). At an average of 7 panels per home that makes something in the region of 1,950 panels. When you think the solar farm when its built will have 3,702 you get some idea how much power is generated just from the roofs the Council’s housing stock alone.
As a part of the Council’s revolutionary super energy efficient retrofitting of Council Homes programme the Council will be fitting the remaining 94% of our Council homes with Solar panels over the next 10 years.
So finally we get to the Solar Farm for which the Council got an EU grant of £3.5M to install a 1.2 MW solar farm of 3,702 panels on an old landfill site. The project also a power storage element which will allow power upload to the Grid at times of peak demand rather than only while its being generated. Work on this has started.