Highland Council invests £2m in solar panels to raise additional £4m

Councillor Alister Mackinnon.

Highland Council aims to generate a £4million profit after agreeing to invest £2.3m on installing solar panels on buildings across its estate.

Councillors have approved a self-financing project to install 2.5 megawatts of panels on sites across the region.

It aims to make a net profit of £4.01m over the course of 20 years – this being after repayments for the investment have been made, as well as accounting for maintenance, insurance, fees and charges.

Solar Photovoltaics, or Solar PV for short, is a technology that converts daylight into electrical power.

The energy generated will be ‘sold’ to power Council buildings in close proximity.

Net profit can be achieved each year for the anticipated 20-year lifespan of the panels. It will also reduce the organisation’s annual carbon footprint by an estimated 1,000 tonnes per year.

It is hoped that this will be the first of multiple projects to generate income by from renewable energy on the council estate.

Solar has been selected for the first project as it is most efficient for the desired time scales, being relatively straightforward to deploy, reliable, and market proven.

Councillor Alister MacKinnon, chairman of the corporate resources committee, said: “The administration is committed to looking at new ways to generate income, make savings and for the council to become more commercial.”

Councillor Bill Lobban, chairman of the authority’s redesign board, added: “This is a fantastic project which will bring substantial income to the council.

“Staff and Members of the Redesign Board have done a huge amount of work in bringing these plans to fruition and I look forward to yet more innovative projects coming forward.”