New BRE solar car park guide uncovers solar, storage and EV potential

The Building Research Establishment (BRE) has launched a brand new solar carport guide with the intent of stimulating the market.

Launched at this week’s Ecobuild exhibition the guide, entitled ‘Multifunctional Solar Car Parks: A good practice guide for owners and developers’, has been funded by Innovate UK and written alongside solar carport specialist Flexi-Solar.

It’s also received support from the likes of the Solar Trade Association, APSE Energy, the British Parking Association and the Electricity Storage Network.

Its stated aim is to provide an outline of key factors required for the business cases behind solar car parks, including details relating to site selection, design and development.

The new document follows on from the BRE’s good practice solar car parks guide published two years ago, but updates some of the guidance to include further applications of energy storage and electric vehicle charging points and how they be incorporated into the design and development stage.

Chris Coonick, senior consultant at BRE and author of the guide, said that the document filled a gap as there were currently few that covered the integration of solar alongside other technologies like storage and EV chargers.

“As the UK Government seeks to include more renewable energy in the energy mix, solving problems associated with intermittent renewables generation will become more imperative due to the inflexibility of our electricity distribution network, as mentioned in the recent Clean Growth Strategy. Low carbon solutions which balance electricity supply and demand are required to achieve this, and multifunctional solar car parks can be part of this solution,” he added.

The guide argues that the average solar car park could have a capacity of around 2kWp per 12m2 parking bay and benefit from a diverse range of revenue streams, particularly as electric vehicle adoption rates rise.

BRE notes that the average industry price for rapid chargers are £0.35p/kWh and £0.25p/kWh for fast charging, resulting in estimated annual revenues of £4,800 per unit per year. This, combined with other revenue streams such as energy export, parking fees and additional revenues from storage capacities, can all contribute towards an established business model.

Nina Skorupska, chief executive at the Renewable Energy Association, said: “The national roll out of EV charging infrastructure that is reliable, accessible, and affordable is an increasingly urgent issue to ensure the delivery of the Government’s ambition to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040. The integration of solar and storage can help facilitate this historic transport shift, whilst ensuring that it is renewable energy powered to boot.”