Plans to transform Stirling Council’s Castleview Park and Ride site into a sustainable transport and renewable energy hub are underway with the introduction of solar panels.

The panels, which will span a 1,375m2 area, include 32 new EV chargers and are expected to generate roughly 250,000kWh annually.

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.

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“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.”

The project which successfully received match funding through the Low Carbon Travel and Transport (LCTT) Challenge Fund, will also install integrated electric vehicle chargers.

They will use the renewable energy from the solar canopies and battery storage to maximise use of the excess energy generated.

Additional active travel and low carbon opportunities from the site will include an e-bike share scheme as well as the NextBike scheme already in place at the site, bike lockers and racks, and improved paths and safe links from the site into the city centre.

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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 the pilot project is successful, Stirling Council have said they 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.