The District Council brings solar energy to the Newark Beacon

Posted on: Monday, December 11, 2023

Newark and Sherwood District Council continues work towards achieving its carbon net zero target as the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels starts at the Newark Beacon.

This is the second site of five being fitted with solar PV panels over the next five months. Installation has already been completed at Newark Sports and Fitness Centre and will begin at Dukeries Leisure Centre and the Green Flag Award-winning parks of Sconce and Devon and Vicar Water over the next couple of months.

The Newark Beacon is a modern business centre owned and managed by the District Council and offers a range of business accommodation facilities including shared office space, meeting and conference rooms, hot desks, and an onsite café. Anyone in need can hire the site, whether it is an established company or a new business owner just starting out. It will be the second Council-owned office space to be fitted with the solar PV panels, in addition to the District Council’s main office at Castle House in Newark.

The 148 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels being fitted are estimated to generate over 40,000 kWh which equates to 17% of our annual consumption for the site and will save 12 tonnes of CO2 each year.

Several factors contribute to the large amount of energy needed to keep larger office spaces running. These include basic office necessities such as air conditioning or heating, lighting, and computers, and office buildings are one of the five largest building stock sectors in energy consumption, requiring 27.6GWh/year in the UK and 68% of total non-domestic electricity use*.

Councillor Keith Melton, Portfolio Holder for Climate Change at Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “It is great to see our decarbonisation plans well underway at a number of our sites. We do not take our commitment to achieving our carbon neutral goals lightly, and it is encouraging to see huge steps such as this being taken, alongside the other sustainability projects we are working on.

“We can all do our bit to be more energy efficient, whether it is in our offices, our homes, or schools, but large-scale investments like this have a vital role to play in creating a greener future for our community.”

After declaring a Climate Emergency in 2019, the District Council is doing all it can to reduce its carbon footprint and these installations are part of a number of new initiatives being implemented to reduce carbon emissions by 2,165 tCO2e, which is the equivalent of an average family diesel car driving 12.99 million miles**. Other work includes planting a record number of trees, with a target of 10,000 already surpassed with 22,204 trees given away to be planted or planted by the Council so far. It is also deploying electric vehicles and carbon neutral forms of transport to its fleet. Further plans to decarbonise Council owned buildings were approved in September 2023, and work to decarbonise social housing already moving forward.

Carbon net zero means that any carbon emissions created are balanced out by taking the same amount out of the atmosphere. Net zero will be reached once the amount of carbon emissions added is no more than the amount removed.

To achieve the targets, and to ensure ongoing transparency, the Council will be recording its carbon footprint on an annual basis so that progress can be measured and monitored.

If you are thinking of installing Solar Panels, or have recently had them fitted, the National Energy Action (NEA) website provides useful information that could help you better understand and maximise the benefits of having these.

Find out more about the Newark Beacon:

* The office of the future: Operational energy consumption in the post-pandemic era - Eirini Mantesi

** This figure is derived from the NSDC Climate Emergency strategy published September 2020, ‘One tonne of CO2e (tCO2e) is the equivalent to the average emissions of one passenger on a return-flight from Paris to New York or driving 6000 km in a diesel car.’