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Manchester Council on course for installing 10,000 solar panels by year end

As part of the Unlocking Clean Energy in Greater Manchester (UCEGM) project, which was launched in 2020, Manchester City Council are looking to have installed nearly 10,000 solar panels on their buildings by the end of 2023.

The UCEGM brings together five local authorities that have declared a climate emergency – Manchester, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, and Wigan.

The project consists of three main parts: building renewable energy generation on under-utilised council land to reduce energy costs and carbon emissions, incorporating energy storage and EV charging to make weather dependent renewable generation more flexible to local demands and developing a range of business models that reduce energy costs and attract private sector investment.

Since 2022 a total of 6,897 panels have been installed across City Council-run sites, including Hough End Leisure Centre, the Wythenshawe Forum and Moss Side Leisure Centre.

An additional 2,962 panels have been commissioned or are in the pipeline to be delivered this year at locations which include  Didsbury Library and the Manchester Aquatic Centre.

This announcement comes shortly after Manchester City Council completed a £2.9m project installing solar car ports at the National Cycling Centre. These car ports provide shelter for vehicles, whilst generating power from solar panels installed on top.

As one of the most energy-dependent buildings within the Council’s estate, working to reduce the building’s overall consumption forms an important pillar of the Council’s overall carbon reduction plan.

It is estimated that the 1,005 m2 site – equivalent to around the size of four tennis courts – will generate roughly 172MWh of electricity annually.

In the first eight weeks of operation the solar panels generated more than 47MWh of electricity, saving an estimated nine tonnes of carbon.

Councillor Tracey Rawlins, Executive Member for Environment and Transport said: ‘This work shows that tangible progress is being made as the Council works to become a zero-carbon organisation.

‘Renewables such as solar power, even in rainy Manchester, provide a viable and unlimited source of energy for buildings across the city.

‘Looking at the National Cycling Centre, we have shown that we are able to seamlessly incorporate the use of renewable energy into the existing infrastructure, setting a clear example of how this approach can be replicated across the city.’

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