The solar car port will support the council’s mission to be net zero by 2030. Image: North Norfolk District Council.

The North Norfolk District Council has approved plans for the creation of a two-bay solar carport at The Reef Leisure Centre in Sheringham.

The solar carport is part of the council’s initiative to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030, with generating renewable energy recognised as one of the core pillars of the strategy.

Other pillars include improving the energy efficiency of buildings, decarbonising vehicle fleets and services, supporting staff to work in more energy-efficient ways and reducing work-related travel.

Destination chargers such as these could be key for the growing electric vehicle (EV) market by providing further availability to chargers in convenient locations. The Reef carport will also benefit from being directly supplied by solar energy ensuring the carbon footprint of the EV is minimal.

The solar carport will also protect drivers from future energy price fluctuations due to the ongoing energy crisis.

“Introducing innovative measures to our assets is a vital step towards our net zero ambitions. The solar carports are a fantastic concept, utilising existing public space with opportunity to use renewable energy to power the surrounding assets, in this case, our energy-efficient leisure centre,” said Councillor Nigel Lloyd, portfolio holder for Environmental Services, Climate Change and the Environment at North Norfolk District Council.

“With a successful implementation of a solar carport at The Reef, we can look to roll out this to other car parks in North Norfolk.”

The carport will be used as a trial for the renewable technology, which if successful, will be rolled out to other locations around the district.

The Reef Leisure Centre will look to incorporate additional renewable technologies in a bid to reduce its carbon footprint.

In a similar move, East Riding of Yorkshire Council announced in November 2022 it had successfully installed a solar-powered car port at East Riding Leisure Driffield. This carport houses 52.4kWp of solar PV and runs alongside two 7.4kW dual electric vehicle charging units.

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