Installation of Solar PV on District Council buildings has begun

Posted on: Monday, October 2, 2023

Newark and Sherwood District Council continues to take massive steps towards achieving its carbon net zero target as the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on selected Council buildings begins.

Five buildings are going to be fitted with solar PV panels over the next five months, in addition to those already on the District Council’s main office, Castle House. The installation at Newark Sports and Fitness Centre will be followed by the Dukeries Leisure Centre, the Beacon Business Innovation Centre and the Green Flag Award-winning parks of Sconce and Devon and Vicar Water.

Leisure centres, while vital for improving people’s health and wellbeing, are one of the main contributors to the Council’s carbon footprint, due to their higher energy needs. The 436 panels to be installed at Newark Sports and Fitness Centre are expected to generate in excess of 20% of the site’s total energy consumption.

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, or, 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 as 18,000 have been planted by the Council so far in 2023. It is also deploying electric vehicles and carbon neutral forms of transport to its fleet. Plans to decarbonise Council owned buildings were also recently approved, 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.

Councillor Keith Melton, Portfolio Holder for Climate Change at Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “The installation of these PV panels is going to allow us to make massive strides towards achieving our carbon neutral goals. Improving energy efficiency plays an important role in reducing our carbon footprint and larger-scale investments like this are vital to pushing that forward.

“Along with the other work we are committed to and the targets we are already exceeding, I can’t wait to see what we can achieve in our efforts to create a greener and more sustainable future for our district.”

Andy Freeman, Chairman for Active4Today said: “We are excited about the opportunities for solar technology to reduce energy costs and improve sustainability for customers. The clean energy system will not only reduce leisure centre’s energy bills but provide clean electricity for members.”

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.

* 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.’