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Power of the sun harnessed to generate electricity at council buildings

News release from 21/06/2019

AS PART of Cambridge City Council’s response to the climate emergency, seven solar photovoltaic (PV) systems have been installed on a number of the council’s main buildings.

The systems generate electricity for the buildings from renewable energy from the sun. Their installation will reduce the amount of electricity that the Council needs to buy from the national grid by approximately 156,000 kWh per year.

This will reduce the council’s carbon emissions by an approximately 48 tonnes of CO2 every year and save more than £25,000 annually. Any electricity generated by the panels that is not needed in the buildings will be exported to the national grid, generating a further income.

The solar PV systems have been installed to reduce emissions from council buildings as part of its Carbon Management Plan 2016-21. They have been installed at:

  • The Guildhall
  • Mandela House
  • Parkside Pool
  • Abbey Leisure Complex
  • King’s Hedges Pool
  • Cambridge City Crematorium, and
  • Whitefriars Court sheltered housing scheme.

The plan sets out the council’s aim to reduce carbon emissions from its buildings and vehicle fleet by at least 15% from 2014-15 levels by March 2021. The council’s emissions have reduced by 18.4% (or 1,477 tonnes of CO2) from 2014/15 to 2017/18, so it is on track to achieve its aspiration to reduce carbon emissions by 20% by March 2021.

The council continues to work on implementing a range of other projects to reduce its own carbon emissions and support residents and businesses in Cambridge to reduce theirs, including:

  • Installing LED lighting across a number of leisure centres and other council buildings
  • Installing more than 20 rapid electric chargers for taxis in Cambridge by 2020 and making changes to taxi licensing regulations to encourage a shift from diesel vehicles to low or zero-emission alternatives
  • Working with partners in the Greater Cambridge Partnership to promote use of sustainable transport through investment in cycle ways and better bus transport
  • Ensuring that the high energy efficiency and sustainability standards set out in the council’s Sustainable Housing Design Guide are met in new council housing developments where viable.

Cllr Rosy Moore, Executive Councillor for Climate Change, Environment and City Centre, said: “Installing these solar PV systems at council buildings is just one of the many ways we are reducing our carbon emissions as a council. Using sustainable forms of energy means that we can deliver the services that residents want and need without damaging the planet.

“In the last four years we have invested over a million pounds in energy-saving projects and have cut our own emissions as a council by 18.4% since 2014/15, but of course there is still much more work for us to do as a council and as a city to reach our net zero carbon aspiration.

“Councils, businesses, organisations and residents need to work together with national government to reduce carbon emissions and tackle the climate emergency.”