Solar-powered heating and cooling systems cuts running costs for new Edinburgh sports centre

The Pentland Outdoor Centre
The Pentland Outdoor Centre

The Craigdon Mountain Sports – Pentland Outdoor Centre in Edinburgh is now benefitting from lower running costs – thanks to its new solar-powered heating and cooling systems provided and installed by AES Solar and Solar Kingdom.

An AES Solar spokesman explained:  “This new build project features an advanced heating and cooling system, other energy savings measures and in the case of this submission, a solar roof as an integral part of a radical building design. This is a building that makes a statement.

“It has been designed to maximise the use of solar PV by incorporating a mono pitch roof across its entire footprint. This use of renewable energy underlines the approach of the owners to sustainability in their business, which is about enabling their customers to safely enjoy to the full, our natural environment.

“The building runs seven days a week as a retail outlet, with significant energy requirements, meaning self-consumption of generated electricity is near to 100%. Craigdon Edinburgh work in a very competitive retail sector, so carefully controlling energy use is an important element in minimising overheads.

“Solar plays an important role in meeting this objective. The project ably demonstrates the potential for solar on commercial rooftops and the contribution it can make in reducing both running costs and carbon emissions.”

Managing Director Gordon Lee added: “Anyone who has driven past will notice how striking the building is but we also wanted to extend sustainability by the lowering of our carbon footprint by the use of rainwater harvesting and also by the extensive use of solar panels.”

Meanwhile, the National Audit Office has published its report on the Levy Control Framework (LCF), which controls expenditure on low carbon power generation.

For the first time, the report provides a very clear break down of the reasons for the apparent overspend on the LCF. The NAO analysis shows that solar contributed just £130 million, or just 6% of the sudden £2 billion increase in expenditure.

Paul Barwell, Chief Executive of the Solar Trade Association, commented: “The unexpected growth in solar power was repeatedly fingered as a key reason for the overspend on renewables.

“In fact NAO analysis shows solar accounts for only 6% of the overspend – but solar has borne the brunt of corrective measures. That’s a great shame when the technology has become so popular and is now so affordable.

“We hope the new Department will take stock of the low cost impact of solar and act to restore confidence to the sector.”

The STA is seeking a further Contracts-for-Difference allocation round for established ‘Pot 1’ technologies. The STA has also put forward essential proposals to reform the troubled FIT scheme, which would require only £6 million of additional resourcing over this parliament.

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