Solar and heat pumps drive UK’s public sector net-zero plans


England's National Football Museum, a nuclear decommissioning facility, aircraft hangars, and the Royal Botanical Gardens are among the sites which will benefit from solar under a round of UK government grants.

The latest selection of public sector decarbonization projects across England and Scotland, updated this week, includes solar in around GBP 262 million ($328 million) worth of plans. Solar panels in the projects are typically included alongside air and ground-source heat pumps, which are replacing fossil-fuel-powered heating systems.

Phase 3a of the government funding program includes plans for solar on fire stations, police buildings, the National Football Museum in Manchester, and a nuclear decommissioning site at Sellafield, in northwestern England.

Other solar-related plans will be funded at a tennis center, a market, on buildings owned by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, above car parking spaces, and on aircraft hangars. The list also includes schools, hospitals, community centers, biomass boilers, water source heat pumps, solar thermal technology, and a ground-mounted solar site on a disused school sports court in Abingdon, Oxfordshire.

The Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew, London, secured GBP 4.48 million for a project that includes installing solar on its Jodrell laboratory, which includes the UK's National Mycology Archive.

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The grants range in size from GBP 21,000 for an air source heat pump to replace a kerosene boiler at Berkshire College of Agriculture to GBP 71.9 million for Nottingham Hospitals NHS Trust, for water and air source heat pumps at two hospitals.

None of the three awards for Scotland included solar.

The UK government's Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy published the list.

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