Installer EvoEnergy has connected what it claims to be the UK’s largest solar car park on behalf of Nottingham City Council.

The company installed a 354-panel, 88.5kW system at Ken Martin Leisure Centre, adding to the 67kW system it installed at Harvey Hadden Sports Village last year.

Nottingham City Council expects the site to generate just under 80,000kWh of energy each year, all of which will be used on-site to save the council around £10,000 per year on its energy bills.

The installation was connected prior to January’s feed-in tariff cut-off point so does receive the previous regime’s higher rates. The council expects the project to pay itself back within 11 years.

Michael Brien, project manager at EvoEnergy, said the installation built on the installer’s existing relationship with Nottingham City Council which stems back to 2011.

“This installation posed a number of challenges to our team on-site, but the team at Ken Martin were extremely happy with the way we worked around their day-to-day operations, causing them as little disruption as possible.

“The results have impressed them too, thanks to the work of our technical team, who’ve made sure the latest technology was used to help keep it performing efficiently for the duration of its feed-in tariff,” Brien said.

Councillor Alan Clark meanwhile said that the car port was an “ingenious solution” for maximising the council’s assets.

“Car parks although serving a practical purpose and very necessary for our thousands of customers that visit our leisure centres are not usually seen as cutting edge. 

“It’s really exciting that we have been able to extend the usefulness of this space and invest in a green energy supply for Nottingham,” he added.

Solar car ports have long been considered a potential boom area for the UK market and, in the midst of the government’s cuts to the feed-in tariff affecting the residential market, have become more interesting to installation businesses given their close proximity to commercial or industrial buildings which would present logical off-takers for the generated electricity.

Last month BRE National Solar Centre published its good practice guide for solar car park installations having consulted with the likes of the Renewable Energy Association, Solar Cloth Company and Flexisolar.

EvoEnergy’s install comprises SolarEdge optimisers connected to pairs of modules to boost the system’s efficiency. A communication system allows individual panels to communicate with the inverters in pairs, allowing the complete array to continue functioning as normal if one panel breaks.

EvoEnergy is to also offer individual module monitoring to the system to enable quicker operation and maintenance work.