Solar Carports

Local Gov't • Manchester

The National Cycling Centre's solar carports are decarbonising the home of British Cycling.

  • The National Cycling Centre in Manchester.
  • Carports at The National Cycling Centre.

Manchester City Council's story

The National Cycling Centre is a multipurpose cycling venue in Manchester, United Kingdom. It includes an Olympic-standard indoor Velodrome, a BMX arena and outdoor mountain bike trials. The centre has been home to British Cycling since 1994 and the five time Tour de France-winning UCI ProTeam Ineos Grenadiers and formerly known as Team Sky between 2010 and 2019. The Manchester Velodrome has been cited as the major catalyst for Britain's successes in track and road cycling and has been described by Cycling Weekly as the "beating heart of British Cycling's ascension to the top of world cycling".

Manchester City Council have committed to investing in a range of energy efficiency measures at the National Cycling Centre including fabric improvements, LED lighting replacements and the removal of gas heating through the installation of Air Source Heat Pumps.

The size of the complex along with the long operation hours mean it consumes (and will continue to consume) a significant amount of electricity. As a result the Authority has been keen to explore opportunities for on site renewable generation to accelerate the decarbonisation of the building ahead of the decarbonisation of the grid.

Working in partnership with Energy Systems Catapult and other Greater Manchester Local Authorities (Rochdale, Salford, Stockport and Wigan) the Authority has secured £8.6m of match funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Unlocking Clean Energy in Greater Manchester (UCEGM) is a pioneering project that will deliver a number of renewable schemes across the city region and create a blueprint that can be replicated in other regions across the UK aiming for Net Zero carbon emissions.

In total UCEGM will see £17.2m invested across Greater Manchester, with £2.1m being invested in the delivery of 900 kWp of Solar Car Ports at the National Cycling Centre. This is anticipated to save 240 tCO2 emissions per annum.

Useful learnings from Manchester City Council

Advice is difficult as the project is in flight currently, the first phase is due to complete in Q2 2022/23 and the second phase in Q1 2023/24.

The project has been split into phases to ensure access to car parks can be retained in a highly utilised building.

The project is lucky in that there are two separate car parks on site that enable this approach, sectioning a smaller car park to maintain access to a busy building could prove challenging.

As well as the temporary impact of installing the Solar Car Ports, the design also needs to ensure it doesn't impact the future operation of the building in anyway.

Installing Car Ports could reduce the total number of parking spaces available to the site, reduce access to larger vehicles (smaller turning circles) and involve height restrictions.

These factors are particularly important at the National Cycling Centre as it has specific requirements linked to major events, large vehicles and users transporting bikes on car roofs!

Manchester City Council's metrics

Amount of renewable energy generated on site (900 kWp).
Tonnes of CO2 saved per year (240).

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Response to climate crisis





Local Gov't, over 10,000 people

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North West Net Zero Hub

Updated Feb, 2024

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