Portsmouth City Council announces 'no-brainer' energy project where thousands of solar panels will be installed at Lakeside North Harbour in Cosham

THOUSANDS of solar panels are set to be installed at Lakeside North Harbour in Cosham.

Wednesday, 8th June 2022, 4:39 pm
Updated Wednesday, 8th June 2022, 4:50 pm

Portsmouth City Council are fully funding the large-scale solar powered system, supporting its aims for the city to be carbon neutral by 2030.

Power will be generated from the panels and stored, with less electricity being bought from the national grid.

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Thousands of solar panels to be installed at Lakeside North Harbour in Portsmout...

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The works for the solar panels, at Lakeside North Harbour, are set to begin in the Autumn this year. This is an artists impression of what the solar panels may look like. Picture: Portsmouth City Council.

Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson told The News: ‘This is concrete action to reduce the carbon footprint of the city, and it’s really good news.

‘It works in terms of renewable production of energy, and because it includes big Tesla batteries, it works for the tenants as they are able to draw down on those batteries if the weather is not sunny.

‘They are protected from increases in energy rises which have hit firms and households, and it helps the country move to having more of our energy produced from renewables.’

Roughly 10,000 photovoltaic solar (PV) panels will be installed, including 1,900 mounted on the roof across five buildings, and 8,000 above car parking spaces forming canopies.

They will hold a capacity of 4.5 megawatts (MW).

Installation is projected to start in the autumn of this year, and will take roughly nine months to complete.

Speaking at an announcement meeting at midday, in Lakeside, Simon Bateman, asset manager at Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘This is a project that the council is funding themselves.

‘Obviously we will be consulting with people about the disruption but in terms of whether or not it is a good idea or not, I think it is a no brainer.’

The scheme is projected to save approximately 992 tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum.

Andrew Waggott, head of utility and energy at Portsmouth City Council, said the project was rather unique.

During the presentation, he said: ‘There is no project like this in the UK, not on this scale and in this setting.

‘The aim is to reduce the electricity to as close to net zero as we possibly can.

‘Solar is one of the cheapest forms of energy, it is not an either or anymore between supporting green energy and keeping costs down.

‘It is cheap compared to years ago.’

Mr Waggott said the projected energy generation is equivalent to powering approximately 4,500 homes.

The initiative is currently in the planning stage, with a finalised proposal set to be made and put forward to be signed off by full council.

He described the wattage of the panels as ‘huge’ and ‘incredible’, with the system providing an estimated 38.8 per cent of the site’s electricity requirement.

Mr Vernon-Jackson said the council have already reduced carbon emissions on their buildings by 50 per cent, and the 10,000 panels significantly adds to the 27,000 already in Portsmouth.

He added: ‘It’s enormous.

‘The national grid has given us permission to connect it, as we will be producing a lot of power.

‘It can be used by people all over the country, not just those in Lakeside, but people in Cosham, Southsea and Buckland.

‘We know the problems for the country and the planet, and we need to become much better at reducing our need for fossil fuels, and we need to be more self-reliant with our energy needs.

‘This project helps all of that.’