While the new Broadmarsh Car Park and Bus Station has been constructed unseen by many in Nottingham due to Covid restrictions, the impressive new building has an unseen benefit to many in the city – it has been designed with the city’s carbon neutral targets in mind.
The roof of the new building is covered in a photo-voltaic farm of 720 solar panels which it is expected will generate around 190,000 kWh of electricity in the first year of operation – enough to supply energy to over 50 domestic homes all year round. The panels will provide power to the car park and bus station, and new Central Library.
A new parking bay monitoring system has been installed to make parking easier, allowing drivers to look for green lights above parking bays on all levels which will indicate these spaces are available, rather than driving round in hope of finding a space. The Car Park will also have electrical vehicle charging points for electric cars, with infrastructure in place to increase these as usage of electric cars increases. The bus station has also been future proofed to include the containment to provide electrical bus charging points.
The panels have been installed on a triangular mount to raise the pitch of the solar panels to allow them to generate more electricity and uses SolarEdge technology, which optimises every individual solar panel to ensure the farm is as efficient as possible. It is expected that this system will save over 53 tonnes of carbon in the first year of operation – the equivalent of driving a standard car almost 500,000 miles.
Work continues to fit out offices, retail units, shell and core of the new Central Library space and the Bus Station in the coming months, with the Car Park and Bus Station due to open in Autumn 2021.
While the installation of the solar farm seeks to make the redevelopment more sustainable and ‘greener,’ work to make the wider Broadmarsh area physically greener and more welcoming continues. Work to create better public spaces on Sussex Street, under the tram viaduct, continues at pace with bedding for plants and trees in place. The steps from Middle Hill down to Sussex Street are starting to take shape, creating the feel of a city centre amphitheatre towards more open public spaces and the Nottingham College City Hub, due to open formally as national restrictions ease.
Councillor Sally Longford, Deputy Leader of the City Council, said: “We’re matching our ambitions for a carbon neutral city by 2028 with actions across the city, and these solar panels are another element of that. This will be our third largest solar PV system, after Nottingham Tennis Centre and Harvey Hadden Sports Village.
“The Broadmarsh redevelopment area is a key component of our carbon neutral ambitions, removing four lanes of traffic from the area, creating greener public spaces and our electric and biogas buses and electric taxis means we are creating a far more pleasant and much more environmentally friendly entrance to Nottingham compared to just a few years ago.”