Northumberland County Council has launched a new state-of-the-art solar car port array – one of the biggest of its kind in the UK.

The £3.8m 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 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% of county hall’s usage. 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 anticipated to be saved on energy costs each year, and an estimated 250 tonnes?of carbon emissions will be saved annually.

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

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.’

David Mitchell, director of UK Power Networks Services, said: ‘We are delighted to be delivering such a pivotal project for Northumberland County Council to assist in their objective of reducing carbon emissions in half by 2025. 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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