So with the stats out showing August 2016 being the slowest deployment month yet under the new FIT regime, for many the pressure is on to find alternative ways to make an attractive business case for energy deployment. There is of course the potential for private wire, capacity market or frequency response arrangements but these can often be complicated and in the case of the capacity market, not even guaranteed. Nottingham City Council seems to think solar car ports could be the answer.
Whilst solar car ports won't be able to benefit from any better FIT rates, there is not only the benefit of power for the adjacent building but also other less tangible benefits such as shelter for customers, co siting with EV charging points, advertising on the structure and potentially increased footfall . In addition, unlike some rural solar developments, surely nobody can make the argument that this type of solar development is ruining the landscape? I have certainly not yet seen a car park that can be described as picturesque!
On 21 September 2016 APSE Energy held an event for local authorities specifically looking at solar car ports. It was held in the City of Nottingham, in Harvey Haddon Sport Village to be precise, because this council-run leisure complex has one of the early examples of a civic solar car port. Generally, solar PV is still in pretty good shape. Whilst progress on buildings has been slow, there are tens of thousands of civic buildings and council houses yet to be fitted out with solar. It is just a matter of time. But the business case is a current worry. The figures do not add up for land-based solar with the removal of financial incentives and a fixed amount that can be achieved under a PPA for the electricity. So some councils are patiently waiting for prices to fall further.