Work to switch on one of Scotland’s largest low carbon travel hubs has started in Stirling.
Castleview Solar Panels

Plans to transform Stirling Council’s Castleview Park and Ride site into a sustainable transport and renewable energy hub has begun with the introduction of solar panels covering a 1,375m2 area and 32 new EV chargers.

Construction works began on Monday, 3 August and when complete the Castleview Solar Energy Hub will generate roughly 250,000kWh annually.

Solar panels covering 132 parking spaces

The solar canopies will cover 132 parking spaces, merging sustainable energy and sustainable transport to generate low cost, renewable electricity for on-site use, including buildings, street lighting, electric vehicle charging and electric bike charging.

Cllr Jim Thomson, convener of Stirling Council’s Environment and Housing Committee, said: “This is a massive step forward in our aims to protect the environment and encourage more sustainable modes of transport.

“Castleview is a strategic location for residents and visitors and the installation of these solar panels and a range of chargers will make it a landmark on Scotland’s growing green energy highway infrastructure.”

Maximising renewable energy

This project has been successful in receiving match funding through Low Carbon Travel and Transport (LCTT) Challenge Fund, which is a joint Transport Scotland and European Regional Development Fund capital funding programme.

Local company FES are the successful contractors, following an open procurement process, and will design and build the Low Carbon Hub.

The project will also install integrated electric vehicle chargers which use the renewable energy from the solar canopies and battery storage to maximise use of the excess renewable energy generated.

Active travel opportunities

Overall, additional active travel and low carbon opportunities from the site will include:

  • An e-bike share scheme in addition to the NextBike scheme already in place at the site
  • bike lockers and racks
  • improved paths and safe links from the site into the City Centre

New EV charger infrastructure

The new EV charger infrastructure to supplement the existing single fast charger and rapid charger at the site includes:

  • 20 x dual slow chargers: Ideal for commuters, with an average charge time of 8 hours (from 20% to 100% charge)
  • 9 x dual fast chargers: Ideal for tourists and shoppers, with an average charge time of 2.6 hours (from 20% to 80% charge)
  • 3 x dual rapid chargers:  Strategic chargers, generally for those on long journeys and have an average charge of 22 minutes (from 20% to 80% charge)

Encouraging a shift to electric vehicles

Cllr Danny Gibson, vice convener, said: “Our goal here is to provide commuters, residents and visitors with increased opportunities for active and low carbon travel.

“The installation of solar panels and 32 extra chargers on the site will  encourage a shift to electric vehicles in line with our own and the Scottish Government’ targets.”

If this pilot project is successful, Stirling Council will consider replicating the plans in scale in other locations, including rural areas, to provide equity in opportunities for accessing low carbon energy systems in community environments.

During the construction works, access to the site will remain unchanged, although parking will only be available in the bottom portion of the site and traffic management will be in place to ensure safety.

Blue badge spaces will remain in use throughout.