Salford Council completes £7.45 million scheme introducing 2,562 solar panels to public buildings. Image: Salford City Council.

Salford City Council has completed a £7.45 million scheme having successfully installed 2,562 solar panels on public buildings across the city.

The scheme, which received the funding through Salix Finance via the government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, introduced the solar panels with a total generation capacity of 2,498,663kWh to 21 public sector buildings.

First announced in 2020, the scheme has delivered a range of different decarbonisation measures to the city as a means to reduce its carbon footprint. Alongside solar panels, this includes the introduction of air source heat pump systems on 12 sites and the installation of battery energy storage systems (BESS) at four sites.

The BESS systems are a unique complement to the solar panels, providing a means to store green energy for when demand is high. This helps mitigate the impact of blackouts on the energy grid in addition to promoting low-carbon energy for buildings.

 “Salford City Council is delivering innovative solutions to make our public estate more sustainable as we work towards our goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2038,” said Councillor Mike McCusker, lead member for planning, transport and sustainable development.

“This scheme will significantly reduce the carbon footprint of a number of key buildings across the estate, including our leisure and sports facilities and children’s homes, which will now be sustainably heated and better equipped to help us build a greener Salford in the coming years.

“However, we know we must do more to address the climate emergency and in addition to our £126 million of investment in our green spaces and walking and cycling routes across the city, our state-of-the-art solar farm will help us turbocharge our ability to generate clean energy in our city.”

The scheme also boasts some impressive statistics for energy generation. It has enabled a generation output of 778,130kWh per year with this also expected to be tripled once the construction of a large-scale solar farm has been completed in Little Hulton.

Little Hulton solar farm will be built over 3.79 hectares, with 5,094 solar panels installed over five months in 2021 at the site on Kenyon Way. Planning permission for the site was approved in June 2020.

The scheme has been made possible as part of £78 million having been secured by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and 15 other partners from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme.

With this, the funding was provided to Greater Manchester to support energy efficiency upgrades to 200 buildings across the city region with Salford receiving £7.45 million.

Of the sites that received a boost to its renewable capacity, Salford Sports Village in Kersal received the most measures.

This included an air source heat pump system, 130 solar panels being introduced to generate 40,600kWh annually, the introduction of a building energy management system (BeMS), internal and external heating pipework insulation, LED lighting and a BESS system to complement the solar panels.

It was confirmed in July 2021 that NPS Solar would install over 1,542 solar panels, which are expected to generate 477,390kWh each year, to contribute to the Greater Manchester target of installing 45MW of renewable power.

It was confirmed that the solar panels would be installed at four leisure centres, Salford Sports Village, Salford Opportunities Centre, Prescott House, Little Hulton Early Years Centre, St George’s Day Centre, Whittle Street Children’s Home and Turnpike Depot roof Workshop and Salt Store.