Plymouth shines proudly - solar panels for Council buildings

Updated: Jul 30, 2019

As you may know, we don't praise Plymouth City Council very often, as there's many things they could do better, BUT this time we found something that we're very proud of!

Plymouth City Council has committed to using more renewable resources and to being a carbon neutral city by 2030.

Plymouth's Life Centre is covered in solar panels, saving us money on electricity bills.

Plymouth City Council has recently announced a few more buildings that will have solar panels installed as the city continues its drive to cut carbon and create clean renewable energy. The Box, Ballard House, Prince Rock Depot and Chelson Meadow are the latest to be added to the list and they will help cut emissions by up to 200 tonnes a year. These solar panels will generate about 650,000 kilowatts per year of clean renewable energy helping to save on energy bills.

Councillor Sue Dann, Cabinet member for the Environment and Street Scene said: “Bit by bit we are making progress and doing our bit for climate change. In the week were we declared a climate change emergency we are showing we are not just words, we are taking action as well.”

In their first year of operation, it is estimated the solar panels will help the Council reduce its energy bills by £58,500 and protect against future increases in energy price enabling longer term financial planning. Investing in solar will offer a positive return for the Council, providing up to £1.4 million that would otherwise have been spent on fuel bills. The cost of the project is £468,000.

Plymouth City Council has also developed Bickleigh Down Eco Village, an estate of net zero emissions homes, while Milton Keynes is looking to encourage battery storage in new developments.

The Solar Trade Association has produced a report, analysing data from FOI requests in 2017 to all local authorities, to which 330 responded, together with 2018 deployment data from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and found the following:

  • 85% of local authorities own solar panels and 29% have incorporated solar technology within their environmental strategies.

  • The authority making the largest investments in solar is Forest Heath District Council which has invested £16m.

  • The top 10 local authority investors have collectively invested over £80million in solar power.

  • The local authority with the highest concentration of solar homes is Peterborough with 11% of households having solar power.

  • The authority with the lowest concentration of solar homes is Kensington where only 0.1% of homes have solar – a 100X difference compared to Peterborough.

  • The bottom 10 local authorities by concentration of solar homes are in London.

The top 10 authorities by investment in solar are:

  1. Forest Heath District Council – £16,000,000

  2. Cornwall Council – £13,910,000

  3. Wrexham County Borough Council – £12,600,000

  4. Cambridgeshire County Council – £10,500,000

  5. Wigan Metropolitan Borough – £7,900,000

  6. Bournemouth Borough Council – £5,500,000

  7. Leeds City Council – £5,194,000

  8. Northampton Borough Council – £4,460,000

  9. Gravesham Borough Council – £4,200,000

  10. Eastbourne Council – £4,000,000


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