Portsmouth City Council has leased five new electric vehicles for its clean and green team.

The new vans will be charged using power from new solar panel, battery and electric vehicle (EV) charging systems that have been installed at two housing depots in the city.

The new solar, battery and electric vehicle technology is the latest council project completed that will help to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality across the city.

The solar panel and battery systems have been installed at the Housing Depot in Port Royal Street and at Paulsgrove Housing Office. The Green and Clean vans are parked up and charged overnight, so that they can carry out their duties of cleaning and improving the council's housing estates during the day.

The systems have optimisers, Solar Edge, to optimise the installed solar panels and bypasses shaded, poorly performing panels to ensure the system is operating to its optimum level. Each individual panel can be monitored by the council's energy services team using the Solar Edge monitoring platform, in case one should break or under perform.

Tesla Powerwall batteries are also installed at the sites, which capture excess solar for use in the buildings. Additionally, the batteries charge at night during periods of low-cost, off-peak electricity tariffs; and discharge during the costlier peak periods, saving the council money from their energy bills.

‘This shows the council's continued commitment to tackling the climate emergency and making our air less dirty,’ said the cabinet member for Housing and Preventing Homelessness, Darren Sanders.

‘As we emerge into the new different, we want a kinder, fairer and greener Portsmouth. This is another step towards that.’

It is estimated that the solar system could power the vehicles for approximately 60,000 miles a year using zero emission, locally generated renewable energy. This would save approximately £12,000 of fuel per year.

Cabinet member for Climate Change and the Green Recovery, Kimberly Barrett, spoke about the new electric vehicles: ‘There is quite rightly a growing demand for the council to use more electric vehicles, as a way to tackle emissions and our carbon footprint. I'm proud to see that we are meeting this demand.

‘The new green & clean vehicles not only cut our vehicle emissions but make use of energy generated by our own solar panel systems.’