THE council managed to reach a tight deadline to install solar panels on a city car park so it could sell off excess electricity to the government.

A plan to install solar panels on a canopy on St Martin's Gate car park was hit with several months of delays which meant the council had to rush to meet an end of March deadline so it could sell the electricity before a government scheme is scrapped.

It was feared Worcester City Council could miss the March deadline if it did not start work soon but the council has now confirmed it had met the deadline and is now receiving money for the excess electricity.

A combination of poor weather and protracted discussions between the council, contractors and subcontractors, pushed an installation date further and further back.

However, due to the council meeting the end of March deadline, it has been receiving extra money through a scheme known as ‘feed-in tariffs’- which allows the authority to sell excess electricity to the National Grid.

An extra £15,000 was approved by the city council’s police and resources committee back in June 2018 for larger solar panels, pushing the total cost of the project up to £95,000.

Work was expected to start swiftly and the solar panels should have been installed by the end of last year.

Talk of installing solar panels by the council has been going on for several years but money for the project was finally secured by Cllr Louis Stephen, when he gathered cross-party support for funding to be included in the 2017/18 budget.

Cllr Stephen said: “This scheme will reduce CO2 emissions as well as save council tax payers money.

“It would be good to expand this to other car parks and buildings across the city. We need to persuade developers to install solar panels on all new houses and factories.

“Unfortunately the government has cut feed-in-tariffs to zero and that makes it much harder to bring on new schemes but we will not stop pressing the government for this urgent support.”

Located off City Walls Road, the multi-storey car park is the first council-owned building to have solar panels installed.

The panels are expected to generate around 41,000kwh a year, which will be used to generate the car park’s 920 lights and four lifts.

The government’s feed-in tariffs were introduced in 2010 to promote solar panel installation and low-carbon technology, but it announced in December last year that it would be scrapping the scheme and would not be taking any new applications from April 1.