With the possibility of losing 444 acres of greenfield arable land in this area to solar farms, we’ve been looking at some projects that demonstrate an effective use of land area by incorporating multiple uses. One of which includes solar power generation.
One member of our team found this site in Malaga (shown below). It shows an Ikea car park, covered in solar panels. What a fabulous way to utilise an already developed area in order to provide electricity through solar panels too!
But the Ikea site in Malaga isn’t the only solar car port. If we look closer to home the Aviva head office in Norwich covered their car park in solar panels back in April 2019. In fact it generates so much electricity the office is completely off the grid AND there is extra to go into the local distribution network.
The idea of solar carports has been touted as such a great idea that the Building Research Establishment (BRE) even created a best practice guide for owners and developers. The idea is even under consideration by Babergh & Mid Suffolk District Councils for council owned car parks.
A Missed Opportunity?
Here at CARE Suffolk we believe that solar panels belong on rooftops (or other developed areas such as car parks) first and foremost. And that we should only look to our food producing land when the already developed areas have been fully utilised. It is impractical to grow our food on rooftops and our solar on the ground.
So wouldn’t it be great if new developments in the area were built with solar panels on them?
The Eastern Gate Industrial Park (shown below) is currently being built on brownfield land. But there are no solar panels. Not one.
Recent housing developments even closer to our villages include 42 homes in Somersham, 115 homes in Bramford, and 305 homes in Sproughton. All on greenfield land. And no solar panels.
With the UK goal to reach 100% low carbon or renewable energy by 2050, not putting solar panels on rooftops on new buildings seems like such a missed opportunity to contribute to the local distribution grid.