Work on innovative solar project in St Ives to start this year

How the solar panel array at St Ives park and ride could look. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

How the solar panel array at St Ives park and ride could look. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

A car park in St Ives is being turned into a renewable energy generator by the installation of solar panels which will supply power to the site, electric vehicle chargers and for sale to local businesses.

The panels will be fitted to car ports in the two central parking zones at the town's park and ride site at the end of the guided busway in a project between Cambridgeshire County Council and partner Bouygues Energies and Services.

The site will also benefit from new energy efficient lighting and enhanced CCTV, as well as the creation of a wildlife area.

The £3.6million project is jointly funded by Cambridgeshire County Council and a grant to be secured from European Regional Development Funds.

It will be one of the first of its kind in this country, paving the way for new business models to support future green energy projects, and will also include battery storage housed in shipping container-sized cabinets.

Councillor Kevin Reynolds, representing St Ives South and Needingworth said: "This project will attract interest in St Ives both nationally and internationally and really put the town on the map as a forward-looking place to develop innovative projects.

"This project will provide benefits by providing clean energy, support to local businesses and the wider community."

Most Read

The county council will also be offering 40 small and medium-sized enterprises access to a business support programme to share learning from the project.

The energy scheme means the release of nearly 2,400 tonnes of CO2 will be avoided over 25 years.

The council said these types of projects would be crucial if the UK was to reach its target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Work is expected to start in late 2019 and will take 14 months to complete. During this time, the car park will remain open, with construction taking place in phases to minimise impact on parking.

For nearby residents, there will be some unavoidable noise and an increase in traffic during construction, however this will be carefully managed throughout, the council said.

Councillor Josh Schumann, chairman of the commercial and investment committee overseeing the project, said: "The council's vision is to secure renewable and resilient energy supplies and infrastructure that can support local needs.

"Cambridgeshire will do this whilst maximising commercial benefit for the council."