Nottingham City Council is ramping up its sustainable energy programme to reduce its running costs and reduce its carbon footprint with a new solar and lighting installation

At Minvers Sports Hall in Aspley it has expanded its capacity to generate green energy with a further solar installation, and coupled this with an LED lighting upgrade.

With ever tighter budgets to manage, councils across the country are looking at ways to not only save money but to earn income too.  This solar panel scheme is part of a broader solar delivery programme managed by Nottingham City Council, which seeks to install solar panel infrastructure on commercial sites.  The council’s Energy Projects Service has surveyed land and buildings across the city to identify opportunities where space can be further utilised so it not only meets its primary purpose but also generates income via solar power generation.

The new solar roof at Minvers Sports Hall will generate free green electricity for the use of the Sports Hall, saving an estimated £4,500 a year, and excess capacity will be exported to the grid, generating income for the council.  Income is also generated via a Feed in Tariff (FIT), a Government subsidy for the generation of renewable electricity.  The LED lighting is expected to reduce bills by almost £3,000 a year a year.

The Energy Projects Service at Nottingham City Council is also looking for ways to significantly reduce energy demand by installing technologies such as LED lighting. At just over ten years old it is a fairly modern facility but when the sports hall was built installing renewable energy and LED lighting would not have been a viable option. The Energy Projects Team have been keeping a close eye on innovations within sustainable energy technologies so they can source cost effective and fit for purpose solutions for the wide variety of venues that the council owns and operates.

Further cost savings were achieved as the solar and LED installation work was carried out in-house by the council’s mechanical and electrical team. This team has developed in response to the large number of energy related projects that the council is undertaking this creates opportunities for a local workforce to develop skills in installing sustainable energy technologies.

Minvers Sports Hall is a busy venue, used in the day by Ambleside Primary School and in the evenings and weekends, Aspley Partnerships manage the venue for the benefit of the local community.  There is a whole raft of exciting activities taking place there including after school and holiday clubs, a number of local football and other sports teams, music clubs and family and community events.

Volunteer at Minvers Sports Hall, Lisa Grocock said “The LED lights have made a huge improvement to the internal environment here, it’s a big space with very high ceilings and the previous lighting was quite gloomy.  The hall is much brighter now and the lighting system is very easy to use, allowing lights to be turned off individually. At a venue like ours money is always tight and all efforts to reduce our running costs safeguards our future so we really appreciate all of these improvements.”

Councillor Alan Clark, Portfolio Holder for Energy and Sustainability at Nottingham City Council, said:  “This new programme of works will save the authority money on energy and generate a return through green energy subsidies. Considering the positive environmental benefits too, this is great all round for Nottingham.

“This is a great venue that is really well used by the local community, Aspley Partnerships work really hard to keep this venue going and to offering local people a great number of activities and support.”

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