Council to invest in solar technology to boost environmental and financial benefits

Published Wednesday 7 February 2024

Harborough District Council is looking to invest in a Solar PV System on one of its buildings in a bid to reduce emissions and save money.

Harborough Innovation Centre
The council plans to invest in a Solar PV System for the roof of the Harborough Innovation Centre

The council is set to award a contract for the installation of a Solar PV System on the roof of Harborough Innovation Centre at Airfield Business Park in Market Harborough.

The plan is to install a Solar PV system expected to generate the majority of the electric power needed to run the building and some of the electric vehicle chargers throughout the summer, with any excess energy generated potentially supplying the National Grid. It is estimated that this technology could reduce emissions at the Innovation Centre by up to 16 Tonnes of CO2 per year. The installation would include a remote monitoring system which is accessible by computer or smartphone.

The project is expected to save the council more than £500k over the next 20 years, based on current energy pricing.

Cabinet will discuss the recommendation to award the contract at a meeting on 12 February 2024. This item will be exempt and not open to the public due to the report containing commercially sensitive information.

Cllr Darren Woodiwiss, Cabinet lead for Environmental and Climate Change, said: “We have been looking at how we can further reduce emissions from our buildings to help us to meet the council’s 2030 net zero carbon commitment. The Harborough Innovation Centre has a huge roof and is the most suitable of council-owned buildings for this particular project. It’s absolutely right that we press ahead to ensure that we start to gain the associated environmental and financial benefits.”

Harborough Innovation Centre is a business centre with up to 52 individual office spaces, shared workspaces, virtual services, meeting rooms, onsite café, and reception services. Established in 2011 and funded by Harborough District Council, European Regional Development Fund and East Midlands Development Agency, Harborough Innovation Centre has supported more than 250 business since opening.

The building has strong eco credentials which is a motivating factor for current and potential tenants and visitors as businesses and employees are increasingly focused on climate-friendly initiatives. 

Implementation of the recommendations to award the contract in order to progress the investment in technology to generate electricity from renewable sources would support the council’s commitment to become a net zero carbon council by 2030 as far as is possible within financial constraints.