Solar car park built with carbon-friendly materials and offering EV charging set to open in Salisbury, in a European first

Salisbury, UK is set to welcome Europe’s first large-scale solar car park constructed with low-carbon materials. The site will offer EV charging as well as providing power to the Five Rivers Health & Wellbeing Centre in the city.
March 15, 2024
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A ‘European first’, as a new solar car park featuring low-carbon construction is set to open

Salisbury, England is set to become the home of the first large-scale solar car park in Europe that is built using low-carbon materials. Five Rivers Health and Wellbeing Centre will see its car park transformed by  solar energy company 3ti, to create a brand-new SCP (solar car park) opening in April this year.

The proposals show a planned 70 car parking spaces held under 3 ‘gullwing’ solar canopies, providing a peak capacity of roughly 220 kWp[i]. It is hoped that this installation will generate 186MWh (Mega Watt hours) of electricity in its first year- enough to drive 679,856 miles in a modern EV, saving 36 tonnes of carbon emissions, or the equivalent of planting nearly 600 trees and powering 50 homes[ii]. 100% of the energy generated will be used on-site, with Five Rivers Health and Wellbeing Centre expecting this to cover around 10% of it’s energy usage annually- saving it roughly £50,000 per year ($63,770) in energy costs.

In a further step to be environmentally conscious, the canopy structure will be made from low-carbon material ‘Glulam’. These are recyclable wood laminations bonded together, therefore presenting an alternative to the more commonly employed steel or concrete.

The new installation follows an earlier project at Five Rivers, which saw the centre become the first leisure complex in the UK to install 3ti’s Papillio3 solar car park and EV charging hub which enables charging of up to 12 EVs simultaneously at 7kW, 11kW or 22kW.

Could the UK learn lessons from France’s approach to SCPs?

Both public and private car parks offer an intersting opportunity for the installation of solar canopies, a process which is already being utilised in many countries within mainland Europe. As we  reported at the end of 2022, France became a flag-bearer for the concept of SCPs, enacting legislation to make it mandatory for all large car parks to be covered by solar panel canopies, with the legislation stating that new and existing car parks with space for 80 or more vehicles must be modified[iii]. From July 2023[iv], car parks with between 80 and 400 spaces will have five years to implement the measures, and those with more than 400 spaces just three years to comply- meaning that the first wave of these modifications will be needed by July 2026.

It poses the question of whether the UK could follow a similar path, perhaps manadating that larger car parks install solar canopies where practical. This could have positive implications in terms of energy generation in general, and also in providing electricty and charging points for EVs. Councils and private companies should consider the idea of encouraging ‘charge where you stop’, locating solar-powered EV chargers in car parks where consumers often stop for a moderate amount of time (30 minutes or more) such as gyms, leisure centres, cinemas, shopping centres, and supermarkets.

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[i] Salisbury Solar car park to use ‘European-first’ carbon-friendly materials (

[ii] Salisbury to have carbon-friendly solar powered car park | Salisbury Journal

[iii] Driving renewables: Could council and privately-run car parks provide the solution for solar space requirements? (

[iv] Solar Carports: New French Legislation for All Car Parks | Clegg (

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Lauren Foye
Head of Reports

Lauren has extensive experience as an analyst and market researcher in the digital technology and travel sectors. She has a background in researching and forecasting emerging technologies, with a particular passion for the Videogames and eSports industries. She joined the Critical Information Group as Head of Reports and Market Research at GRC World Forums, and leads the content and data research team at the Zero Carbon Academy. “What drew me to the academy is the opportunity to add content and commentary around sustainability across a wealth of industries and sectors.”

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