Solar panels another step towards net zero

Date Published: 14 April 2022

As part of its commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030, North Kesteven District Council plans to invest in more solar panels, cutting both carbon and electricity costs.

At a time when both the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the UK government are calling for an increase in renewables, NKDC is forging ahead with its plans to reduce its carbon footprint. 

The installation is expected to reduce the Council’s electricity bill by as much as 25% and save over 20 tons of C02 per year.

Upon completion, the project will see 230 solar panels installed on the Kesteven Street building at an estimated cost of £150,000, drawn from the Council’s ‘Invest to Save’ reserve – a fund specifically ear-marked for projects that reduce NKDC’s long-term overheads.

With the rising cost of energy impacting all organisations as well as individuals and families, the Council faces its electricity bill more than doubling. It is expected that the solar panels could pay for themselves in less than five years.

The new panels would add to an existing, smaller, installation that currently provides a modest contribution to the Council’s energy usage and carbon footprint.

Council Leader Councillor Richard Wright said: “In line with our commitment to reach net zero carbon from energy by 2030 we’re expanding our use of renewables. The plan is also a prudent move financially in this time of rising energy costs.”

“Investing in projects like this is vital to maintaining a strong and resilient financial footing that allows us to protect and enhance public services. Money we save on running costs is ploughed back into our wider operations, and this will cut our costs and carbon footprint for years to come. 

“As well as saving the Council money, we’re doing everything we can to support families in the District with the rising cost of living. In addition to our key role in distributing the Government’s forthcoming energy rebate, we offer discretionary and hardship payments depending on eligibility, and encourage anyone who’s struggling to contact us.

“From an environmental perspective - for those who can afford to - it might now be worth considering household solar installations. With prices for solar panels dropping, and electricity from the grid increasing in cost, the scales are tipping more in favour of solar in terms of return on investment. You’d also be cutting your own carbon footprint hugely which we all need to do.”

North Kesteven District Council’s Executive Board unanimously agreed the plan at a recent meeting. The proposal will now go through the planning process, but it is hoped that the panels will be operational before next winter. 

Find out more about energy saving and climate change at www.n-kesteven.gov.uk/ActOnClimate.

Chris Vaughan - Solar panels at NKDC April 2022