The Nottingham Wildcats are an all-female basketball team with a 40-year history, and are the only club of its kind in the UK to own their own sports arena (via Nottingham Wildcats Community Basketball and Sports Trust Ltd). In the fall of 2015, they investigated solar as a means to making significant savings on their energy bills to allow the team to free up funds to increase their investment developing local grassroots sports.
With a large open roof space on the sports arena, the Wildcats consulted with EvoEnergy on the most efficient way to install a solar PV system. A ‘free solar’ proposition through a power purchase agreement (PPA) was investigated and having met all of the investment criteria, a 133.65 kWp array was designed and installed by EvoEnergy, fully funded by Free Green Energy.
The 486-panel array is expected to generate 109,192 kWh per annum; saving the club around a third – or £2,000 to £3,000 per year – on its energy costs. The savings will be redirected into grassroot basketball initiatives within the local community, including training programmes in local primary schools that the Wildcats have a strong relationship with.
James Clifford, National Account Manager for EvoEnergy, commented:
“Participation in this project adds to our growing portfolio of local installs which have supported ventures that enable the benefits of solar PV use, reduced bills and carbon emissions, without the upfront cost for the organisation. In this case, it’s good to know that the money saved on energy bills will be redirected to support sports participation amongst school children.”
The array was completed by a three man team in just under two weeks and being funded by a PPA, will also be fully maintained by EvoEnergy for the term of the agreement. As previously mentioned, the PPA deal means that Nottingham Wildcats have a solar PV installation at zero cost, fully owned and operated by the funder, Free Green Energy. Electricity generated by the array is being sold back to the local sports club at a fixed rate that is cheaper than their current energy supplier and subject to inflation better than the energy market.
Chairman of Nottingham Wildcats, Chris Prior, said:
“Our decision to ‘go green’ was based on our realisation that we could be using the arena’s large roof space to save money on our energy bills, just as other sports arenas had done. EvoEnergy advised us that by rethinking our energy generation and usage habits we would be able to save around a third on our annual energy bill and this will allow us to further our charitable objectives of taking basketball our into the local community.
“As a not-for-profit organisation, we would have been unable to finance the installation of solar PV panels ourselves and so the PPA project organised by Free Green Energy has provided the perfect solution: we can balance paying for the technology with investing in the local community.
“Now I wish we’d opted for renewable energy generation years ago! The installation process was hassle free and a three man team from EvoEnergy installed the panels in less two weeks. ‘Going green’ is allowing us to improve the lifestyle of the local community, as well as protecting the environment – it’s a real win-win!”