The historic English city of Nottingham is probably an unlikely setting for large-scale eco-friendly projects, yet a recent news report has stated that Nottingham City Council has stated that they have plans to make their city one of the greenest in the United Kingdom by converting two of their park & ride facilities into a pair of large-scale solar farms!
The two Park & Ride sites, which are used by thousands of motorists on a daily basis as an easy and convenient way to get into Nottingham city centre, will no doubt end up looking like the example photograph above.
Queen’s Drive and Colwick are the locations of the two Park & Ride sites that will benefit from the installation of solar panels, with work expected to be completed by April 2015 once planning approval has been granted.
The Park & Ride site at Queen’s Drive will benefit from a whopping 4,000 solar panels, and once installed can be seen to the thousands of motorists that drive on the A52 road each day. Acting as a roof for the Park & Ride site, the size of the installation can be compared to the size of the Notts County football pitch at Meadow Lane. Meanwhile, the smaller Colwick site is expected to benefit from 3,000 solar panels.
Huge cost = huge gains?
According to the news article, the installation of solar panels on both sites is likely to cost the British taxpayer £2 million. The solar panels are estimated to generate around £100,000 of electricity each year, so it is likely that the installation would only pay for itself after 10 years.
The executive board at Nottingham City Council are all in agreement that it made good financial sense to see the scheme for the two Park & Ride sites commence, and so they approved officers to begin building a business case for this ambitious project.
The benefits for the local economy, residents and visitors to Nottingham
According to city councillor Alan Clark, there will be many benefits to having the solar panels installed. Local residents and people visiting Nottingham will firstly have a roof to protect their cars, and he added that local electric buses will be able to recharge their batteries at the sites, and the solar power generated will also provide energy-efficient lighting, as well.
Mr. Clark also stated that the “long-term hope” is that users of those two Park & Ride facilities will also be able to recharge their own cars there too.
Other benefits to the sites include being able to sell any remaining electricity back into the grid, generating additional revenue for the council and helping to paying for the installation even sooner.
It is also hoped that the sites will indirectly benefit the local economy too, in particular car dealerships such as pentagon-group.co.uk that sell electric vehicles such as the popular Nissan Leaf.
The project is part of the council’s drive to reduce carbon emissions and energy use in the city, with many council-owned properties already saving local residents up to £120 a year on their energy bills thanks to solar panels being installed on their roofs.