What is The Norwich Solar System?

Funded by the Norfolk Investment Framework, The Norwich Solar System project is a feasibility study exploring the potential to establish a solar energy consortium in Norwich, placing panels across rooftops in the BID area of the city.

The energy generated from this city-centre solar energy network could supply businesses with electricity, responding to two major business needs by providing a means of cutting operational costs and shrinking carbon emissions.

The BID Breakfast

In 2023, Norwich BID introduced The BID Breakfast, a series of free business networking events. The BID Breakfast provides Norwich SMEs with a friendly, relaxed space to learn about and discuss the topics that are most important to them, from sustainability to crime reduction. It’s a fantastic opportunity for Norwich SMEs to gain useful insights and advice from local experts, and to network with likeminded businesses over breakfast.

Over 100 businesses signed up to attend our first edition, The BID Breakfast: The Norwich Solar System, which took place between May – July 2023, where we discussed the Norwich Solar System project, looked at the research, and learned what it takes to establish an urban solar farm.

We were joined by businesses from every district to enjoy free bacon rolls and granola bowls and a solar energy talk from sustainable development experts Synfo and the Norwich Eco Hub.

In round table discussions, we heard from local solar champions across the city, sharing their experiences and advice on getting started with solar. Businesses had the opportunity to share their thoughts, and to have their questions answered around getting started with solar.

It was a unique opportunity for likeminded businesses to network, and sparked some fascinating conversations around money, sustainability, and the future of Norwich and its businesses.

The Norwich Solar System is a bold initiative to accelerate action on decarbonisation using the urban environment in reducing scope 2 emissions. It also opens up a constructive opportunity for businesses to collaborate in greater energy resilience.

Dr Nigel Hargreaves

The Study

The Norwich Solar System Feasibility Study, conducted over 6 months starting in April 2023, is a survey of which buildings in Norwich possess the highest potential for capturing solar energy with rooftop panels. The findings of the study will be presented in the City Conversations Conference on 27 September: Cultivating Sustainable Success.

During the BID Breakfast events, Dr Nigel Hargreaves from Synfo gave a comprehensive presentation introducing the concept of The Norwich Solar System, showing the findings from the research conducted within the eight Norwich districts: Cathedral Quarter, King Street Quarter, Riverside, Creative Quarter, Castle and Marketplace, Norwich Lanes, Chapelfield and Business District.

We learned about the best rooftops in each district and how much energy they could potentially generate, considered opportunities and barriers, and looked at the economic prospects for businesses investing in solar.

In round tables, we discussed the motivations, restrictions, and possible solutions for solar in Norwich. It was a unique opportunity for likeminded businesses to network, and sparked some fascinating conversations around money, sustainability, and the future of the city and its businesses.

A full project report is being produced and will be published for the Cultivating Sustainable Success conference on 27 September.

Icon ChevronDownload the report