Highland Council to generate income through solar energy
The Highland Council is to progress with plans to generate over £4 million profit and significantly reduce its carbon emissions by installing solar panels on its estate.
The Council’s Corporate Resources Committee yesterday (28 February 2018) approved a self-financing project using £2.3 million of capital to install 2.5 megawatts of solar panels on sites across the Council estate. The portfolio is estimated to generate net profit of £4.01 million over the course of 20 years. This is after repayments for the £2.3 million investment have been made, and accounting for maintenance, insurance, fees and charges.
Solar Photovoltaics, or Solar PV for short, is a technology that converts daylight into electrical power. Energy generated will be ‘sold’ to power Council buildings in close proximity.
Net profit can be achieved each year for the anticipated 20-year lifespan of the panels. It will also reduce the organisation’s annual carbon footprint by an estimated 1,000 tonnes per year.
It is hoped that this will be the first of multiple projects to generate income by from renewable energy on the Council estate. Solar has been selected for the first project as it is most efficient for the desired time scales, relatively straightforward to deploy, reliable, and market proven.
Chair of the Corporate Resources Committee, Cllr Alister MacKinnon said: “The Administration is committed to looking at new ways to generate income, make savings and for the Council to become more commercial so I am glad the Committee has given the go-ahead so work can progress.”
The Council’s Commercial & Continual Improvement Team have been working closely with the Redesign Board to identify opportunities for how the Council could both generate income and reduce expenditure through energy related opportunities
Chair of the Redesign Board, Cllr Bill Lobban added: “This is a fantastic project which will bring substantial income to the Council. Staff and Members of the Redesign Board have done a huge amount of work in bringing these plans to fruition and I look forward to yet more innovative projects coming forward.”
The next stage of the project will see the Commercial & Continual Improvement Team work with the Energy and Sustainability Team, Councillors and building users to confirm the optimal locations for the panel sites and coordinate implementation.