Report of the Director of Project Management and Property Services
The Cabinet considered a report of the Director of Project Management and Property Services that sought approval for acceptance of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) grant funding to support the delivery of roof-mounted solar photovoltaic systems on 39 public buildings owned and operated by Coventry City Council.
Under current UK policy, there was a need to deliver projects that would transition the UK towards a “net Zero” target by 2050. The proposals set out in the report were a first step to addressing how Coventry City Council could meet part of its electrical demand from local low-carbon or renewable sources. This would contribute to the aims of the city’s climate change strategy which had a clear objective of delivering reductions to the City’s carbon emission levels.
The proposed project would deliver 899kWp of Solar PV panels across the 39 eligible properties, set out in paragraph 188.8.131.52 of the report, capable of generating 644 MWh of renewable electricity each year to council owned and operated properties across the city. The cost of delivering this project was £1.26m, however there were opportunities currently available to reduce the investment required significantly through grant funding and finance. Coventry City Council had been invited to submit a full application for ERDF funding to cover 50% of the project cost. Due to the value of the grant that would be offered, Cabinet approval of the grant acceptance was required. If the application was submitted following this report a grant award was expected to be made in May 2020. Award would be contingent on the commitment of Coventry City Council to provide the match funding required (50%) in return for net revenue savings estimated at £75k per year.
RESOLVED that the Cabinet:
1) Approves the proposal for the implementation of the Roof Mounted Solar PV Installations as set out in the report (“the Project”).
2) Approves the proposal for the Council to act as Accountable Body and, if the Council’s grant bid is successful, the acceptance of the ERDF grant funding offer up to the value of £630k from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to support delivery of the Project.
3) Delegates authority to the Director of Finance and the Director of Project Management and Property Services, following consultation with Director of Law and Governance, to finalise the terms and conditions of the ERDF grant and any other legal agreements required to facilitate delivery of the Project and incorporate the grant within the Capital Programme as necessary.
4) Approves the proposal to spend the grant award on the delivery of the Project as set out in the report.
5) Approves the commencement of any necessary procurement exercises and following completion, to award such contracts to the preferred supplier.
6) Approves the provision of a further £630k match funding either entirely from earmarked reserves or a combination of earmarked reserves existing resources and an interest free loan offer from Salix Finance Ltd which shall be used solely for the delivery of the Project.
7) Requests that officers continue to pursue feasibility options for ground based solar arrays on Council owned land around the city and explore suitable funding routes.