Skip to content Skip to footer

One of the UK’s largest solar carport goes live in Morpeth, Northumberland

Solar Carport in Morpeth Northumberland

The market town of Morpeth in Northumberland is now home to one of the UK’s largest solar carports, situated at the local council’s headquarters. 

Northumberland County Council commissioned the £3.8 million project, which includes a covered parking area with a canopy made from photovoltaic panels, in a bid to save on its electricity bill. It’s thought that the solar canopy could save the council between £100,000 to £150,000 each year. 

The solar canopy is the third largest of its kind in the UK providing up to 800 kW of power, although that doesn’t come anywhere near as large as some being built on the continent. That includes one currently being constructed at the car park for Disneyland Paris, which is set to be completed later this year, and could provide the resort with up to 36 GWh each year in clean electricity. 

Despite being smaller than systems across Europe, the new solar carport at County Hall in Morpeth will still be able to provide approximately 40% of the energy usage requirements from the council’s building. When paired with rooftop solar, that figure increases to 50% of its energy use – meaning the council can generate half of the electricity it needs completely free of charge. 

The design and installation of the new solar carport was carried out by UK Power Network Services, with it partly funded by the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 with match-funding from the council, which it plans to recoup through energy savings. 

In addition to the solar panels, UK Power Networks services installed a 400 kW battery energy storage system with smart controls to optimise energy use, carbon emissions and costs throughout the day, as well as additional rapid charge and overnight charging options which are now in place for the Council’s fleet vehicles.

The council also stands to benefit from more than just a cut to its energy bill, with its carbon footprint set to be reduced by more than 250 tonnes of CO2 each year, helping it meet its target of cutting its own emissions in half by 2025. 

Councillor Glen Sanderson, Council Leader and Cabinet member for Climate Change, noted, “This is a historical moment for Northumberland County Council and one we should be very proud of.  

“It’s great to see this initiative finally come to fruition which will save a massive amount on Council energy supply spending and will also reduce the need for us to rely on fossil fuels to power our main building.

“I want to say a huge thank you to everyone involved in making this happen. It is a real example of using innovative technologies to move us towards a cleaner and more sustainable future.”

David Mitchell, Director of UK Power Networks Services, added, “We are delighted to be delivering such a pivotal project for Northumberland County Council to assist in their objective of reducing carbon emissions in half by 2025. This solar energy infrastructure is one of the largest solar carport installations in the UK and will change the way the Council’s fleet operates to reduce cost and improve carbon efficiency.”

Northumberland County Council plans to use this model to test the suitability of installing similar solutions in other public car parks in the county to reduce costs, meet carbon targets and improve the resilience of energy supplies.

Top Stories

Stay In The Know

Sign up to receive the Electrical Review Newsletter, the Digital Issue of the Electrical Review Magazine and be the first to hear about the latest events from us.