Case study: Harnessing Cornwall’s sunshine

The energy hub team is working with client Cornwall Council to turn the roofs of public buildings into new sites for green energy generation.  The project will save money for local people as well as reducing carbon emissions.

Background

In January 2019 Cornwall Council declared a climate emergency, setting out the aspiration of becoming carbon neutral by 2030. Developing solar photo voltaic (PV) installations on council buildings and schools became a key priority for action.

Our role

The South West Energy Hub is helping to identify suitable sites and develop robust business cases for each PV installation. This includes grid applications, site surveys, initial scheme design, calculation of utilisation factor, planning permission and cost estimates. Our work helps to reduce risk and inform a sound investment decision.

Our team are also working to streamline the council’s internal processes to make sure the projects are delivered on time, on budget and with a focus on quality, whilst supporting the local supply chain.

Location

We are working with the council to assess potential sites across Cornwall including offices, workspaces, housing developments, leisure centres, old landfill sites, county farms and car parks.

The first phase of work will see PV panels installed on the roofs of an archive building and a materials recycling facility.  A ground-mounted array will also be set up on council-owned quarry land.

Technology

Solar PV is an established and well-proven technology that is suitable for many buildings and land assets. Recent cost reductions and technological improvements mean that arrays are now viable without subsides, particularly if most of the energy will be self-consumed on site.

Cornwall has one of the best solar resources in the UK; solar PV can produce in excess of 1000kWh/ kWp/ annum in optimum sites.

Financing and ownership 

All the installations included in the first phase of the project will be 100% owned, operated and maintained by Cornwall Council.

Several external funding sources are available for renewable energy projects and our team can advise on the best way to finance your project. Where a viable business case is demonstrated then projects are usually funded from borrowing.

KEY FACTS


Cornwall Council

Strategic Priority
Renewable energy generation

Energy generation/saving
Phase one: 600,000kWh/ annum (75% self-consumed on site).Project potential: 20MW

Timeframe
The first three solar PV installations are planned for construction in summer 2020.  Further large-scale projects are under development.