As part of a £13 million citywide project, 19 city-owned buildings in the city of Plymouth are set for a number of solar panel installations.

The wider energy saving project will also see all of the south west city’s 28,000 street lights replaced with LED lighting, which is more carbon efficient.

Plans are yet to be approved by the city Cabinet, but the programme is expected to be rolled out over a period of four years, with the target to significantly reduce the city’s carbon footprint.

In addition to reducing the city’s carbon emissions by up to 3,200 tonnes a year, it is hoped that the installation will save an average of £1.5 million over a period of 20 years.

Cabinet member for finance Councillor Mark Lowry said: "These projects are all about saving the council taxpayer a lot of money and protecting frontline services.  Of course they also have considerable other benefits, making our city a safer and more environmentally friendly place to live."

Panels have already been fitted to four council buildings, including Midland House, Martins Gate, Douglas House and Frederick Street Youth Centre. These currently generate an output of 82.5kW. 

An additional 14 solar panels are set to be installed on buildings across the city, including plans for the provision of photovoltaics on the Council House.

It is not just the council who are preparing to become more carbon efficient, with further initiatives pushed out by the local government for more community owned co-operatives across the region. A reduction of carbon emissions by 20 per cent has been earmarked as a target for 2015. 

Mr Lowry said that government should encourage more households and small businesses to take advantage of energy saving measures, rather than big business

Low carbon city team leader at the council, Alistair Macpherson said: "Energy costs are a growing issue. For a city like Plymouth where you already have fuel poverty there is a real challenge."