Northumberland county HQ set to be powered by solar farm

Northumberland County Council has announced plans to install a high-tech solar farm at the back of its County Hall in Morpeth.

The scheme will also see 60 new electric vehicle (EV) charging points installed in the structure of the solar farm, which will be suspended above the hall’s car parking spaces.

The £2.3m scheme will be half-funded via a European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) grant, while the council will cover the other 50%.

The cost of the scheme is eventually expected to be covered by the savings it will generate for the council’s energy costs.

Council leader Peter Jackson said: ‘We’ve already made clear our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and becoming carbon neutral by 2030 and this innovative scheme shows what can be achieved right on our doorstep.

‘We know electric and hybrid vehicles are becoming increasingly popular and we want to encourage this take-up by providing as many charging points as possible in the county.

‘Assuming we get the 50% ERDF grant the energy savings from the project are expected to more than cover the cost of our initial investment.’

Once constructed, the solar farm should provide around 40% of the electricity needs of County Hall by itself.

The solar farm will work in conjunction with the solar panels already installed on the roof of County Hall allowing the building to generate around half of its annual energy from solar power.

The council hopes the solar farm and carport will save around 240 tonnes of carbon emissions each year once they are up and running.

It is expected that the solar farm and carport will be fully up and running by the summer of 2021.

Northumberland County Council has committed to reducing its carbon emissions after it announced a climate emergency earlier this year.

The authority has promised to half its carbon emissions by 2025 and turn Northumberland a carbon-neutral county by 2030.

The council’s steps to reduce its energy bills through green initiatives follow on from Nottingham City Council’s announcement that it would become its own water supplier.

Starting from next Wednesday (August 14), the East Midlands city council will start supplying its own water services to buildings like leisure centres and libraries as it tries to cut down on its bills and its water consumption.

Photo Credit – Russel Wills

Chris Ogden

Chris Ogden

Digital News Reporter

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