Page last updated at 05:48 GMT, Tuesday, 14 April 2009 06:48 UK

'Solar farm' on public buildings

Photovoltaic panel
The study would look at installing photovoltaic panels on public buildings

A city council is look at turning its buildings into a "solar farm" to offset the carbon footprint of its energy use.

A report claims Newport's civic centre, its international sports village and schools and community centres can be used to generate renewable energy.

It says capital costs could be recouped within 15 years at current prices with power either sold to the national grid or used to cut a site's energy bill.

The economic development committee is to vote on Wednesday a study.

The report said the best buildings to be part of the solar farm are the ones with a flat or pitched roof facing somewhere between south east and south west.

Buildings with a pitched roof with an angle of between 25 and 35 degrees are ideal.

On a flat roof building, the panels would need to be tilted to an angle of around 30 degrees and spaced apart to stop them casting shadows on each other.


The sports village is considered an "ideal location" for an array of photovoltaic panels as the swimming pool roof has an almost perfect orientation and pitch for optimum output.

It has an area of approximately 2,400 sq m with few obstructions and is thought suitable for a direct draw down of energy to contribute to the building's power use.

The velodrome, with has a flat roof with an area of over 8,500 sq m, is also thought to be best for a direct draw down scheme, although the orientation of the building is not ideal, as the pitch east to west is fairly shallow.

The report said: "From those panels, for example, if the building has a high every-day demand such as a leisure centre, then it would be more advantageous to use the direct produced electricity within the building.

"If the building is for example a school, then it may be more prudent to sell the electricity back to the supplier as the school will be closed for long durations outside of terms, especially during the summer months when electricity production levels are at their peak."

Street lamps

It concluded: "The city's existing, and in some cases iconic, buildings, have great potential to generate renewable energy, through [photovoltaic] installations.

One of the options being considered is to make developers supply a photovoltaic solar panel for every one--to-three street lamps installed on new developments.

A solar panel installation has been put on the new community centre in the Moorland Park area of the city.

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