Man installing solar panels on a roof

Green buildings set for green light

Five more of the council’s buildings are set to go green, if plans are approved for solar panels on their roofs.

Earlier this year the council declared a climate emergency, with ambitious plans to reduce its emissions by half by 2025 and make the county carbon-neutral by 2030.

Since 2010 the council has reduced its carbon emissions by a third and the area is now ranked as one of the greenest in the country. However it’s acknowledged it has a significant role to play in further reducing greenhouse gas emissions and cutting its carbon footprint.

Now the council’s Cabinet are being recommended to give the go-ahead to installing more solar panels on buildings as part of the local authority’s renewable energy programme.

The installation of panels at Dene Park House, Hexham; Eddie Ferguson House, Blyth; Stakeford Depot; Riverside Centre, Blyth and Willowburn Leisure Centre, Alnwick, will cost around £378,000.

It’s estimated the energy savings achieved over the 25 year lifespan of the panels will more than offset the cost of the outlay, as they’re predicted to save more than £440,000 over their lifetime.

The installations will each provide nearly a quarter of the buildings usage requirements - and save approximately 42 tonnes of carbon emissions per year.

Councillor Glen Sanderson, Cabinet Member for Environment and Local Services, said: “Since we declared a climate emergency a lot of work has been going on to establish practical ways the council, our partners and the wider community can reduce our carbon footprint.

“While this is an issue for every one of us, it’s crucial where we can we lead by example and this scheme will harness the sun’s power to reduce the amount of carbon we’re creating each year.

“The approach we have taken here is to invest in our assets for the long term benefit of future generations, demonstrating our commitment to this important issue.”

If approved, construction for all five projects is expected to begin in April 2020 and be completed in four months.
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