Northgate Arena Leisure Centre

Our first project was to install 192 solar PV panels on the roof of Northgate Arena Leisure Centre; the City’s principal leisure centre. The project has an installed capacity of 49.9 kilowatts peak (kWp) and is predicted to generate 40,000 kilowatt hours of electricity in the first year, with a one percent annual decrease in output over the 25 year life of the solar panels. The panels are Seraphim 260 watt PV modules mounted on a Van der Valk ballasted mounting system. Solaredge 3 phase inverters allow the performance of the panels to be monitored remotely in real time. The installation was designed, procured and installed by Genfit Ltd, a renewable energy business based in Chester.

Northgate Arena Aerial ViewThe project was developed in close collaboration with CWAC, the building owners, and Brio Leisure, the leisure centre operators. Alongside our project, CWAC were installing its own 50kW scheme. The panels were installed on the swimming pool roof, which was recovered with a waterproof membrane prior to the panels being installed. The scheme was classed as permitted development and did not require planning consent.

The scheme was pre-registered with Ofgem and eligible for feed in tariff payments at the level set in October 2015. The FIT income is guaranteed for a period of 20 years. It is expected that the panels will continue to generate electricity for at least a further 5 years, and CCEL could continue to receive an income from electricity sales over that extended period.

Northgate Arena Solar PanelsCCEL has signed a lease to use the roof of the leisure centre and payment terms for the electricity generated by the scheme (in a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). The lease and PPA will be for a period of 20 years, with the option to extend both beyond this if agreed by both parties. There will be a break clause in both in 15 years, at the point at which Brio Leisure’s own lease to operate the leisure centre expires. At the end of the 20 years there will be the option to renew the lease, or give the panels to CWAC, or CCEL may be required to remove them from the roof. This will be determined by the circumstances at the time. We have included contingency funding for removal of the system after 20 years.