BRE National Solar Centre launches good practice solar car parks guide

The BRE National Solar Centre has launched a new guide offering best practice recommendations for solar car parks.

The guide, launched during this week’s Ecobuild show, has been developed in conjunction with organisations such as the Renewable Energy Association, Solar Cloth Company and Flexisolar to offer installers guidance on the installs, labelling them a “new growth area” for the UK solar market.

Solar car parks have long been considered a potential area for rapid uptake of solar PV given their minimal land impacts, locations next to energy-intensive buildings and the accelerating adoption of electric vehicles.

The area has also risen in prominence recently due to cuts to the feed-in tariff reducing the prospects for domestic installs. Solar installers are now looking for other opportunities in the market, and BRE considers solar car parks to be one such example.

The publication includes advice on site selection, revenue streams, business models and design concepts to adopt.

Jonny Williams, director at BRE National Solar Centre, said that there was “tremendous potential” for deploying solar on car parks, stating that they were essentially considered as brownfield sites.

“Technical advances and falling costs help to make large-scale solar car parking a viable proposition, and can add to the amenity of the car parks through LED lighting, covered access and electric vehicle charging,” he said.

“Transforming a car park by incorporating solar delivers on so many fronts; the panels create shade, carpark users are protected from the rain, the advertising potential is increased, there is the obvious synergy with electric vehicle charging and it allows the car park owner to make a great environmental statement,” Nina Skorupska, chief executive at the REA, said.

Flexisolar’s Christopher Jackson has authored the report, which has been sponsored by both Lark Energy and Solar Cloth Company. It is available for download here.