Solar panels on new WLDC depot will support net zero carbon push

West Lindsey District Council has installed solar panels on its new £5 million depot, currently under construction on land near Caenby Corner.

Solar panels at new Caenby Corner depot

The panels are part of the Council’s commitment to reach its carbon reduction target of net zero by 2050.

The purpose-built central operational services depot, being built by contractor Henry Boot Construction Limited, will secure the future of waste collection and street cleansing services in the district.

The contemporary two storey building has been designed by Whittam Cox Architects, who delivered one of the region’s most significant regeneration schemes at Marshall’s Yard in Gainsborough.

The panels are being installed to cover all of the available roof space, to maximise the amount of clean electricity generated.

They are combined with a battery storage system which means the building can still be powered by renewable energy even when the sun is not shining!

The panels are expected to generate around 20,000 Kilowatt hours of green electricity each year. That is an annual saving equivalent to 14.2 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide – the amount produced by burning 1400 gallons of diesel.

The news has been welcomed by Coun Jeff Summers, who represents the Waddingham and Spital ward at the Council, where the new depot is being built.

He said: “I am pleased that we have been able to support the implementation of solar panels on our new depot.

“Solar PV Panels are a tried and tested solution to generating clean green energy and reducing traditional energy consumption.

“West Lindsey District Council installed solar panels at The Guildhall and Leisure Centre in Gainsborough and Festival Hall, Market Rasen nearly a decade ago.

“We are still benefiting from the reduced energy bills and income from the Governments feed in tariff of circa £21,000 per annum.”

Other measures have also been designed to reduce energy consumption and increase the use of renewable energy within the facility.

This includes three electric vehicle charging points; LED lighting and lighting controls; heating, cooling and hot water provided by Air Source Heat Pumps.

Heat Reclaim Ventilation technology will also be combined with upgraded insulation double glazing to ensure that a clean comfortable working environment can be maintained in a way that minimises carbon emissions.

The Council’s Environment, Sustainability and Climate Change Working Group has developed a strategy and an action plan to become net zero by 2050, which will be discussed at the next Council meeting.

Chairman of the working group, Coun Tracey Coulson said: “I am sure this latest investment will not only help us save tax payers money in the short term, but it is crucial that we take action to support our future generations.

“It is important that where we can, we lead on decisions like this which can make a significant difference and hopefully that will encourage and inspire residents and businesses in the district to do the same.

“We all have a role to play in creating sustainable and environmentally friendly solutions to support our communities and it gives me great pleasure to see us making decisions like this.”

The Council has also committed to investigate a move to electric fleet vehicles, starting with the small vans.

In the future, renewable energy produced by the panels could even help deliver the waste collection or street cleansing services!

Daniel Cocker, Director at Whittam Cox Architects added: “This project is a great example of our client making a considered capital investment commitment which will deliver value, in numerous ways, for the life of this new building and facility.

“It’s critically important we all take every step possible to deliver more sustainable buildings. Generation and utilisation of renewable forms of energy at source will reduce both carbon emissions and overdependence on fossil fuels. Everything we do in relation to sustainable design will make a difference in the long-term and we are more committed than ever to this agenda.”

The Council applied for a grant to help pay towards the cost of the solar panels from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme and was successful.