Solar panel canopies above a car park at the Lakeside Business Park

Set to be one of the largest solar parking canopy projects in the UK, the solar PV and battery installation has been confirmed to go ahead at Lakeside North Harbour. This ground-breaking project will put roof-mounted solar PV arrays across five buildings, solar car park canopies in 3 car parks with battery storage installed alongside.  

The works will consist of:  

  • 1,820 roof-mounted solar PV panels across 5 buildings   
  • 7,105 solar PV panels installed above existing car parking spaces, creating solar canopies  
  • Electric vehicle (EV) charging points with infrastructure to install additional charging points as demand increases   
  • 2MW battery installation to store excess solar energy, to be used at peak periods during the day and provide services to the local electricity network at times of high demand 

The Solar PV system size is 4.462 megawatts (MWp), with 910 kilowatts (kWp) on the 5 buildings and 3,552kWp of Solar Car Park Canopies.   The Solar PV system will generate more than 4 million kWh’s per annum which is the same as powering 1,300 homes (average 3-bed house) for a year and is projected to save more than 860 tonnes of carbon dioxide from being emitted each year.   

The Solar PV and battery installation will start 21st August 2023 and will be completed by Autumn 2024.   

Lakeside will consume just over 64% of the generated power which equates to 37% of the site’s electricity requirements, the same as over 1,000 homes’ annual electricity consumption.  The battery will provide additional power to the site.   

The battery storage will be controlled to ensure it maximises the benefit to Lakeside North Harbour. In times of high power prices, the battery will discharge to Lakeside to minimise consumption from the grid.  During grid peaks and troughs the battery will discharge/charge, take part in other grid services with any unused power exported to the grid.  

Custom Solar, a Mitie company, will be installing the solar panels, solar canopies, 2MW battery and EV chargers alongside the council’s in-house energy services and building projects team who will be managing and funding the installation.  

Councillor Kimberly Barrett, Cabinet member for Climate Change and Greening the City said:  

“We are constantly aiming to improve our solar power in Portsmouth, and to begin working on possibly the largest solar canopy project in the UK is a great step in coming closer to our goal of Net Zero by 2030 and using greener energy in the city.”   

Simon Bateman, Manager at Lakeside said: 

“This is a fantastic opportunity for Lakeside businesses to benefit from the council’s 2030 net zero target at no direct cost to them.  This solar project will enable us to have a 100% green electric supply for all 55 businesses at Lakeside. The environment is a fundamental core value at Lakeside – from creating the right atmosphere for our occupier community, to driving sustainability and efficient use of our valuable resources.”

Gary Sucharewycz, Sales Director of Solar and Storage Solutions, Custom Solar, a Mitie company, said:  

“This latest solar project at Lakeside North Harbour continues Portsmouth City Council’s trailblazing approach to decarbonise and diversify energy sources in the city which will also benefit the many businesses based at the business park. With this unique project we’ll be bringing together expertise from across Mitie to deliver a broad range of technology solutions, including rooftop solar and solar car ports, battery storage, LED lighting, electric vehicle charge points and electrical infrastructure services. We’re extremely proud to have been awarded this contract and look forward to continuing our support of the Council and its drive to achieve its net zero goals.” 

To find out more about how Portsmouth City Council could help your business with energy costs and usage, please contact utilities@portsmouthcc.gov.uk