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Will solar car parks be part of the EV infrastructure picture?

With 9m electric cars expected to be on the roads by 2030, compared to an estimated 1m in 2020, the infrastructure has to be in place to support its growth.

A new guide has been published which advocates a new approach to the building of carparks, with ‘multifunctional’ solar car parks being built that would combine renewable energy generation with energy storage and EV charging points.

The guide, called ‘Multifunctional Solar Car Parks: a good practice guide for owners and developers’ has been published by the BRE National Solar Centre, and it provides an outline of the key factors to be considered when developing a business case for a multifunctional car park project from planning through to delivery.

These include funding models, planning permission, regulations, design options and procurement.

Funded by Innovate UK, the guide explains how multifunctional solar carparks can add value to car parks by improving their economic and environmental performance.

Chris Coonick, senior consultant and author of the guide said: ‘At present, there are few documents that cover the integration of solar with other technologies such as storage and EV charging. As the UK Government seeks to include more renewable energy in the energy mix, solving problems associated with intermittent renewables generation will become more imperative due to the inflexibility of our electricity distribution network, as mentioned in the recent clean growth strategy.

Low carbon solutions which balance electricity supply and demand are required to achieve this, and multifunctional solar car parks can be part of this solution.’

Robert Carpenter, managing director at FlexiSolar said, ‘The National Grid estimates that there could be over 1 million EVs on the road by 2020 and 9 million by 2030. Multifunctional solar carports can provide a more welcoming EV charging experience for users, offering accessible and well-lit spaces protected from the weather and supplying clean, renewable energy for their EV.

Multifunctional solar car parks are typically more cost-effective than installing the three technologies (PV, energy storage and EV charge points) separately, as they share infrastructure and project delivery costs.’

Dr Nina Skorupska CBE, Chief Executive of the Renewable Energy Association said: ‘The national rollout of EV charging infrastructure that is reliable, accessible, and affordable is an increasingly urgent issue to ensure the delivery of the Government’s ambition to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040.

The integration of solar and storage can help facilitate this historic transport shift, whilst ensuring that it is renewable energy powered to boot.’

Read the report here

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