Bristol City Council has hit its climate targets two years early, with solar playing a crucial role.

The council has reduced carbon emissions from its direct activities by 65%, an aim it initially wanted to achieve by 2020.

It’s the second year running that the council has exceeded its carbon targets, with 2018 seeing record high solar energy production from its 4.2MW Avonmouth solar park.

During the 2017/18 period, the council saw 21GWh of energy generated by solar, wind and biomass, with a 71% reduction of carbon emissions against a 2005 baseline.

Alongside energy generated through solar, the council says efforts to make its buildings more energy efficient, investment in infrastructure for renewables, electrifying the council’s fleet vehicles and upgrades to street lighting helped to achieve its target.

Reductions in carbon across the national grid through increased national renewable energy generation also played a major part in the council’s carbon reduction.

Earlier this year Bristol City Council, in partnership with Devon and Plymouth Councils, secured nearly £2 million in European Union funding for the deployment of new renewable energy. The funding will also go towards energy efficiency, sustainable transport and heat networks. The council has previously said that as much as £40 million could be invested in the city’s renewables capacity by 2027.

Councillor Kye Dudd, cabinet member for energy and transport, said that council is “incredibly proud” to be “leading by example.”

“This is the second time the council has hit its carbon reduction target well ahead of schedule and is a clear marker for our continued commitment to build a carbon neutral Bristol.”

A new target is to cut carbon emissions is to be proposed, with the council aiming to make the city carbon neutral by 2050.