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Plans for more solar panels on Worcester car park

An engineer installing solar panels

installProposals for more solar panels on the roof of a city centre car park will help Worcester City Council reduce its electricity costs, a report to be considered by councillors next week says.

The report to the Policy and Resources Committee, which meets on Monday 16 October, sets out plans for installing five new sets of photovoltaic panels on the roof of St Martin's Gate car park.

If approved, the new solar panels would earn back their installation cost within 11 years and, over their 25-year lifespan, would produce a net annual return of £13,000, helping to reduce the City Council's overall electricity costs.

The multi-storey car park's roof is already home to one set of solar panels, which have been making a contribution to the City Council's energy bills since being installed in 2019.

David Blake, the City Council's Managing Director, said: "At the City Council we are committed to increasing our use of energy from sustainable sources as part of our environmental sustainability strategy, and solar energy is an efficient way of achieving this.

"Like everyone in the country, we have also been affected by higher energy bills in recent times, so it is important that we find new ways to manage our costs."

If approved, and if planning permission is also granted, the installation of the new solar panels would result in the loss of 38 parking spaces on the car park roof. However, the impact of this would be small because the car park roof is very rarely full, except when special events like the Victorian Christmas Fayre are happening.

The new array of panels would be built on a steel portal frame above the parking spaces. It would cost £521,000 and generate 239 mega watt hours of electricity each year. The existing single array of panels produces 44 mega watt hours per year.

Even taking into account the City Council's borrowing costs and the small loss in car park income, the new initiative would still produce a saving of £13,000 a year over a 25-year period. 

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