Council unveils UK’s first public solar cloth carport

Nottingham City Council has installed the first local authority solar cloth carport in the country.

The canopy at Harvey Hadden Sports Village covers 40 parking spaces, and was designed and built by Solar Cloth Company and EvoEnergy.

The 67kWp solar system sits above parking spaces at the leisure centre, consists of 448 solar panels and will be officially opened next month (September).

It will produce 50MWh/year, and the CO2 emissions saved will be 493 tonnes per year, which is the equivalent of emissions from 225 cars per year. 

The energy generated, which will all be used to power the leisure centre, is the equivalent of powering a fridge for 139 years, or making just over 2 million cups of tea.

Solar Cloth Company's Power Parking solution uses copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) technology, which produces a higher energy yield over time when compared with traditionally used crystalline silicon solutions, contributing greatly to achieving Nottingham City Council's environmental commitments and aims.

"As the uptake of solar solutions continues to grow in the UK, people and businesses are increasingly becoming aware of the different types of solutions available and also learning that there is a huge variety to suit the needs of a range of applications and projects,” said Solar Cloth Company Chief Executive, Mike Staplehurst.

“Our PowerParking solution offers a bespoke approach to proving solar solutions, and by working with our experienced installation partners EvoEnergy and Sitec, together we've been able to deliver a solution that fits with not just the eco-goals of Nottingham City Council, but also the physical structures already planned. This flexibility is a key strength of what Solar Cloth Company can offer, and we're incredibly proud to have a key part in providing the UK's first commercial local authority installation."

Michael Sailsbury, Projects Director at EvoEnergy says: "We have worked with Nottingham City Council on a range of different projects in the past and this latest has been one of the most exciting as we've been able to play a key part in the development of Harvey Hadden, which has been eagerly awaited in Nottingham. Working in partnership with Solar Cloth Company on this installation, it's been a great example of how a combination of experience, innovation and cutting edge technology can achieve great things."

Nottingham City Council’s Porfolio Holder for Energy, Cllr Alan Clark, added: "Once again Nottingham City Council is leading the local authority green energy agenda. The sun provides an inexhaustible source of energy and it is very exciting that the city's sites can be used to harness this power to provide green energy for our citizens.  Almost 15% of the energy used in the city comes from low carbon or zero carbon sources making Nottingham the most Energy Self Sufficient city in the UK over the next 18 months our solar panel programme will significantly build on this."

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government, transport and energy issues