Members considered a report on a grant funding bid for solar photovoltaic panels for the new central waste depot. In the event that the proposed bid was unsuccessful, there was an alternative in the form of the Carbon Management Reserve Fund.
The Assistant Director of Commercial and Operational Services introduced the report and highlighted the following points:
· The current design of the new depot incorporated electric charging points, with heating and hot water provided by heat source pumps. It would also be fitted with insulated double glazing;
· The addition of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels would add to the authority’s commitment to reduce harmful CO2 emissions;
· The other options with the PV panels would be to:
o Do nothing – the depot would not have PV panels;
o Have a smaller setup;
o Install the panels at a later date.
· The total cost was estimated to be £43,000. There was some funding available under a government scheme, and the new depot seemed to fulfil a lot of the criteria. If the bid to the government were to be unsuccessful, then the authority could underwrite the funding by using the Carbon Management Reserve Fund;
· The authority would go into a bidding process, and there was the possibility of gaining funding for other climate-friendly additions for the new depot.
Following this introduction, Members asked questions of officers. The responses are detailed below:
· Depreciation of the panels had been factored in when thinking about this project.
Over time, the panels would become slightly less efficient, but would be paid off within 15 years. A conservative estimate of their lifespan would be 20 years, and there was room for their efficiency to increase. There would be a business case for this project even without grant funding;
· The Carbon Trust, who were currently working with West Lindsey District Council (WLDC) were recommending to all Councils that solar panels be considered wherever possible;
· Other authorities were running electric bin lorry fleets. The issue for WLDC would be the geography of the district; the lorries already weigh 10 tonnes when full of material, and the number of batteries required to power them would weigh them down still further.
Diesel continued to be the best power for the fleet for now, but options around moving to an electric fleet were explored through the Lincolnshire Waste Partnership;
· There were two electric vehicle charging points at the new depot, and the intention would be to first look at the supervisor vans and consider making them electrically powered;
· One project being explored with the Carbon Trust was the decarbonisation of the entire fleet;
· An additional, speculative bid was being made for battery storage. Any extra energy produced on site would then go into battery storage to be used efficiently at a later date.
The recommendations were then moved, seconded and it was unanimously RESOLVED to:
(1) Approve an application for funding to the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme for installation of Solar Photovoltaic Panels at the new central waste depot at Caenby Corner;
(2) Approve a capital budget of up to £50,000 for 2021/2022 and subsequent expenditure, for the installation of Solar Photovoltaic Panels to be funded by grant and/or the Carbon Management Reserve, dependent on the level of grant funding received.
The Assistant Director for Operational and Commercial Services is to consult with the Chairman of the Corporate Policy and Resources Committee when the result of the grant bid is known.
(3) Ratify the award of work via the project contractor (subject to any conditions imposed by an award of funding);
(4) Note and endorse the measures to improve energy efficiency at the new depot and approve that they are in line with Council aims to achieve energy sustainability in all Council controlled premises.