Metrocentre Gateshead has announced that stage two of its solar panel project is underway, with installation expected to be completed by December 2022.
The second phase of the development, which aims to ensure a more sustainable future for Metrocentre, sees the installation of solar pv car ports and 46 new EV charging ports in the Green and Blue Mall car parks, following the recent installation of its new solar pv rooftop panels covering an area equivalent in size to 88 tennis courts.
With the 46 new EV charging bays delivered and the solar panels fitted above each parking bay, this will allow the retail and leisure destination to provide emissions-free ‘fuel’ for 7,230 electric car miles by the end of the year.
Metrocentre is working with specialist renewable energy and green technology consultant, Syzygy to complete the £2.8m project, which is one of the schemes to be granted ERDF funding for 50% of the total cost of the project.
Green energy generated by the solar panels at Metrocentre will be enough to power 600 electric cars for a year. It’s estimated that the electricity generated from the solar panel installation will result in a reduction of 315 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year, equal to planting 32,500 trees over the system’s 25-year lifetime.
Switching to solar energy will also reduce Metrocentre’s grid dependency by 30%, offsetting more than 37% of its total annual electricity use with its own low carbon supply.
Ben Cox of Sovereign Centros, senior asset manager for Metrocentre said: “This is a really important milestone for us as we head into the next phase of our solar panel project with Syzygy. A solar panel and car port installation of this size has never been seen before in a UK shopping centre and upon completion of the project later this year, Metrocentre will have the largest solar panel installation of any UK shopping centre.
“We know Gateshead has an ambitious plan to go zero carbon by 2030, so we are proud to be actively working towards this common goal to bring renewable energy to the local community. The project plays a large role in our long-term business strategy for the centre which focusses on sustainability and our place in the region.”
John Macdonald Brown, CEO of Syzygy added: “Achieving this scale of solar panel and car port installation is the result of significant client and partner collaboration. Thank you to Sovereign Centros, European Commission (ERDF Fund), and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government for all their support in delivering this project and for their steadfast commitment to sustainable real estate development. The sheer size and magnitude of this development should provide impetus for others in the industry.”