One of the UK’s largest Low Carbon Transport Hubs – with solar panels covering 132 car parking spaces – has sparked into life in Stirling.
Scottish Government transport minister Graeme Dey visited the Castleview Park and Ride site on Monday to view the facility, which aims to protect the environment and encourage more sustainable modes of transport.
The renewable energy generated will power 64 new integrated electric vehicle (EV) charger points to supplement the existing fast and rapid charger points already at the site, including:
- Six additional rapid (43/50kW) charger points: For those on long journeys needing a quick top up.
- Eighteen additional fast (22kW) charger points: For tourists and shoppers topping up over a few hours.
- Forty additional slow (7kW) charger points: For commuters or those who are leaving cars for long periods of the day.
The site is fully inclusive and provides EV charging bays designated specifically for blue badge holders, which offer access to rapid and slow chargers.
The solar canopies combine renewable energy and sustainable transport to generate low cost, renewable electricity for on-site electric vehicle charging and street lighting.
In addition, the solar canopies are integrated with a battery storage system to maximise the renewable energy used and to minimise losses.
The battery system has a storage capacity of 352kWh, which is 30% of the daily peak renewable energy generated, and discharges at a rate that allows all of the car chargers on site to be operational at the same time.
Dey said the new site supports the Scottish Government’s ambition of phasing out the need for new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030 and Scotland’s world-leading commitment of net-zero emissions by 2045.
The transport minister told STV News: “We can talk to the public, we can tell them what they ought to be doing, but in reality we need to work with the public to provide the facilities that are going to make it easier for them to go green.
“I think it’s important that the government takes up that role as leading on enabling the change.
“We’re asking people to make significant changes in their behaviours in the years to come and we have to provide the infrastructure and the facilities in general to set that direction of travel for them.”
Councillor Jim Thomson, convener of the council’s environment and housing committee, said: “Castleview Low Carbon Transport Hub will generate roughly 250,000kWh annually, providing commuters, residents and visitors with increased opportunities for active and low-carbon travel.
“With the electricity produced being used to power onsite buildings, car park lighting as well as charge vehicles, this is a massive step forward in our aims to meet our climate change targets and encourage more sustainable modes of transport.”
The project received more than £1m funding through Transport Scotland’s Low Carbon Travel and Transport (LCTT) Challenge Fund, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
This funding was made up of more than £600,000 from ERDF and over £400,000 from Transport Scotland.
Local company FES was the successful contractor, following an open procurement process, and designed and built the integrated sustainable energy and transport element of the hub.
Charlie Easton, director with FES Support Services Ltd, said: “We were delighted to deliver the Castleview Low Carbon Transport Hub which is the second project in the A9 Electrification Scheme designed and delivered by FES Support Services Ltd, demonstrating our commitment to delivering a carbon neutral future.”
Additional active travel and low-carbon opportunities from the site will include a safe crossing from the area and an improved active travel path to encourage site users to take more active forms of transport into Stirling city centre.
Speaking about the charging network, ScottishPower’s Scott Mathieson said: “Whilst it’s a set number of chargers at various capacities, actually it’s equivalent to plugging in 600 homes into the grid.
“And if you think just within Stirling’s area alone we’ve got another ten of these coming within the next five-year window.
“So that’s a great challenge for us, and we’re an engineering business, we can meet that challenge.
“And the wonderful thing about the network’s business is that we can do it cost-effectively. The use of the network costs the customer less than 40p a day.”