National battery shortage delays a number of solar panel schemes in Hertfordshire

Earlier this year Hertfordshire County Council was awarded £26m for hundreds of decarbonisation projects

Friday, 8th October 2021, 10:53 am
Updated Friday, 8th October 2021, 10:54 am

A national shortage of batteries has delayed plans to install solar panels on a number of schools and fire stations across the county.

Earlier this year Hertfordshire County Council was awarded £26m for hundreds of decarbonisation projects countywide, as part of the ‘Salix Decarbonisation Scheme’.

It was to include the installation of air source heat pumps to replace existing gas boilers, double glazing, wall insulation works and solar panels.

The image has been used for illustrative purposes

But now it has emerged a number of the schemes – which were due to be completed by the end of September have been delayed.

And that, it has been reported, is due – at least in part – to the supply of batteries and other materials.

The delay emerged in financial data presented to a meeting of the council’s resources and performance cabinet panel.

Commenting on the ‘Salix Decarbonisation Scheme’ the report to the cabinet panel states: “Whilst it is expected that the majority of works will complete before 30th September 2021, it has been confirmed that a number of sites will be delivered after this date.

“The delay in works are primarily centred around the availability of materials, especially with regards to battery availability for the Photovoltaic (PV) sites.

“Salix has been made aware of this expected delay and has confirmed an extension to the grant end date of 31st March 2022.”

Care homes, fire stations and more than 300 of the county’s schools have all been earmarked to benefit from various decarbonisation measures, as a result of the funding.

Following the meeting, the county council’s assistant director for property Sass Pledger said that most of the projects had been completed.

She said that as a result of the push towards PV utilisation and battery usage there had been a shortage of batteries.

And she said there had been ‘a short delay’ while they waited for their suppliers to receive battery shipments.

However, she said the deployment of county council staff to support work related to the Covid 19 pandemic – such as the establishment of vaccination centres and mobile testing units – had also had an impact.

And – pointing to fire stations, where access was restricted in order to isolate firefighters – she said, some projects were delayed because of lack of access.

“We are trailblazing something new so there are bound to be issues with delivery,” said Ms Pledger.

“But it is something which has resolved itself quickly and we are confident we are going to deliver all the schemes on time.”