Exeter’s SunGift acclaimed for integrating solar into multi-storey car parks
The UK’s first solar carport systems on the top decks of multi-storey car parks have picked up two prestigious awards following their recent completion.
The two systems in Exeter, designed and installed by SunGift Energy for Exeter City Council, won the Innovation Award at the Western Morning News Business Awards and the Most Sustainable Public Sector Project (Innovation Award) at the Public Sector Sustainability Awards in London.
The 150 kW solar carports – situated on the top decks of Mary Arches and John Lewis car parks in Exeter city centre – impressed judges due to their multiple benefits of being perfectly placed for making the most of the sun’s free energy, providing an improved and more attractive parking option, and generating increased use and revenue for parking services.
“This is the most technologically complex solar solution that we have designed and installed,” said SunGift founder and director Gabriel Wondrausch, “so it’s a great reward for everyone who his worked on the project. It’s been a real whole-company success story, requiring significant input from our surveyors, designers, external consultants, project managers and our skilled team of solar installers. It’s very satisfying to be recognized for the work we’re doing in pushing forward the boundaries of solar PV systems.”
Before the solar carports were installed, cars that parked on the top levels of the two car parks were ‘out in the open’. Now, however, they are each covered by more than 500 solar panels that generate 285,227 kWh of free electricity and save more than 150 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Detailed planning and designing of the system has been critically important, with specialist mounting equipment being designed and used to ensure the structural integrity of the car parks.
Gabriel added: “SunGift has years of knowledge and experience working on specialist projects, but this project brought with it new challenges, requiring us to design a bespoke system that met the requirements of both Exeter City Council and each individual site.”
Devon-based SunGift, which installs commercial systems throughout the UK, won the contract with Exeter City Council following a competitive tender against local and national companies.
Gabriel Wondrausch was presented with the Western Morning News award at Sandy Park in Exeter, and Exeter City Council’s Corporate Energy Manager Jo Pearce was presented with the Public Sector Sustainability Award at the London ExCeL exhibition centre.
The project was also a runner up in the South West Green Energy awards [project of the Year.]