Nottingham City Council has installed what is claimed to be the UK’s largest solar carport at the Harvey Hadden Leisure Centre.

The innovative solar install sees 40 car parking spaces at the leisure centre covered with canopies that both protect cars and generate renewable energy.

The project forms part of a £13.5 million redevelopment of the site, which aims to become the City’s flagship sporting venue. The project has been carried out by cambridge-based Flexisolar who partnered with Sitec Infrastructure Services, EPC EvoEnergy and project manager TSCC.

The 76.3kWp solar carport consists of 448 solar modules that is predicted to generate 55.7MWh of electricity per year – enough to power 20 local homes. Through the associated feed-in tariff and reduced energy costs, Nottingham City Council is hoping to generate over £10,000 of benefit every year it operates.

Robert Carpenter, managing director of Flexisolar explained why his company sees Carports as a bright point for the future of UK solar. He said: “I am very hopeful that the solar industry and carpark owners will take note of this landmark structure. We need to demonstrate capability and drive costs down.”

Carpenter hinted that the financials for carports could prove more compelling in the near future. He said: “Our next solar carport installation is set to achieve cost parity with solar rooftop installations – an important milestone for this maturing technology.”

Carport designer, Christopher Jackson added: “Using the space above an electric vehicle to charge its batteries is a no-brainer. I’m excited how the team have managed to pull together their different expertise and produce the UK’s largest solar power carport. It’s an important technology demonstrator and now everyone is asking, who’s going to get the first 1MW carport?”

Jackson added: “The industry is really hotting up.”