Exeter Council has applied for planning permission for two solar carports to be situated in the centre of the city.

The council is hoping to fit the car parks at John Lewis and Mary Arches with the solar carports. The proposed sites will each boast 555 modules, representing a total capacity of 150kWp.

The scale of the solar carports means that the car parks will, at certain times, be run solely from the solar arrays with all excess electricity exported back to the grid. It is estimated that the solar carport project could generate an investment return of over £600,000 for the council during the project’s lifetime if given planning approval.

Speaking to Solar Power Portal, a council spokesperson said: “This a groundbreaking project for the city, the first of its type in the country. This reflects a huge step forward for Exeter City Council in terms of renewable investment and carbon emission reduction. The solar PV canopies also serve to improve the current parking service, providing protection from rain and bad weather.”

The UK solar industry has begun to seriously consider solar carports as a viable alternative to the underperforming commercial rooftop market. Currently, solar carports are eligible for 1.6ROCs.

The next edition of Solar Business Focus UK will look in detail at the rise of solar carports in the UK.