Pioneering solar car park in Salisbury

3ti instillation will contribute more than 10% of leisure centre’s energy use and save some £50,000 in bills each year 

Europe’s first ever large-scale solar car park (SCP) will open in Salisbury next month. The SCP will be situated at and contribute energy to Wiltshire Council’s Five Rivers Health & Wellbeing Centre. Manufacturer 3ti says the project will showcase advanced tech that could revolutionise the construction, efficiency and visual appeal of SCPs, and help maximise lifetime sustainability. 

Solar Car Park at Five Rivers Health & Wellbeing Centre in Salisbury, photo courtesy of 3ti

Solar Car Park at Five Rivers Health & Wellbeing Centre in Salisbury, photo courtesy of 3ti

The structure is made from Glulum – renewable, recyclable bonded wood laminations that are a greener alternative to steel or concrete. In fact, the engineered timber is three times stronger and a third lighter than structural steel, and a tenth as much energy is expended in producing equivalent beams. In fact, the Glulum structure as minimal impact on the environment, is easily repaired and, at the end of its life, will make good quality biofuel. 

In addition, 3ti used Spirafix™ ground anchors to secure the SCP structure instead of conventional concrete bases or steel piles. This achieves further significant carbon savings and accelerates the installation process. Again, the ground anchors are more durable and can be recycled. 

The three gullwing solar canopies cover a total of 70 car parking spaces with a combined total capacity of c.220 kWp. The leisure centre will use all solar energy generated onsite, which is expected to amount to some 10% of overall demand for electricity and save some £50,000 per year on bills. In its first year, the SCP is expected to generate 186MWh of electricity, which 3ti says is enough to drive 679,856 miles in a modern EV and will save some 36 tonnes of carbon emissions. That is equivalent to planting nearly 600 trees. 

The canopies are fitted with transparent Glass-Glass solar panels produced by Solarwatt®, incorporating bifacial tech so that solar energy is capture on both sides of the panel, increasing total energy generation. That means high efficiency and long-term yields. The solar cells are also embedded in a highly durable Glass-Glass composite that will protect them from challenging environmental and mechanical stress such as in snow and hailstorms. They are built to be resistant to ammonia and salt mist. 

What’s more, as well as the large-scale SCP, this is the first leisure facility in the UK to install 3ti’s award-winning Papilio3® pop-up solar car park and EV charging hub. As we’ve reported before, the Papilio3 system is built around a recycled shipping container and can be installed in less than eight hours. The charging up can fast charge 12 EVs at once.  

Philip McMullan, Senior Technical Lead on Major Energy Projects at Wiltshire Council, says: ‘We have invested heavily in sustainability to achieve our 2030 carbon neutral goals. The new solar installations at Five Rivers will help reduce our carbon footprint and support the local community with the transition to zero emission motoring by strengthening the county’s EV charging infrastructure.’ 

Tim Evans, Founder & CEO at 3ti, adds: ‘Our job is to champion workplace and destination EV charging to promote a “charge where you stop” mentality across the UK, while supporting customers to achieve their sustainability goals. Better EV charging infrastructure at destinations with long dwell times – offices, hospitals and leisure facilities like Five Rivers – will encourage greater EV adoption rates; it’s refreshing to see Wiltshire Council adopting such a forward-thinking approach, and we are honoured to play a part in their sustainability vision. 

‘We are constantly evolving our SCP products and are proud to feature these innovative new designs, construction materials and techniques at Five Rivers. Introducing these features means we can offer better durability and versatility than conventional materials and significantly reduce carbon emissions generated across the entire product lifecycle. This installation marks a major milestone on our journey to supporting customers and society as a whole; we will continue to work with facilities around the UK to roll out installations to support future generations and “leave something better behind®”.’

In related news:

£6m self-driving bus serves Sunderland Royal Hospital 

Lots more e-scooters for Salford

‘Tap and take-off’ charging for electric aircraft

Simon Guerrier
Writer and journalist for Infotec, Social Care Today and Air Quality News


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