Eastbourne solar
Photo: Veolia

What if… … we sheltered Lewes’ Farmers Market with solar panels?

Let’s learn from Eastbourne District General Hospital and put solar panels where they could deliver power – and protection from the elements, suggests Ann Link of Nevill 2030.

Eastbourne District General Hospital has installed 2,250 solar panels over its 400-vehicle car park. This is part of a whole set of changes which will cut the hospital’s energy use by 57% by 2025. You can read about it here.

This is hugely good news in itself, but it also suggests something that could be very helpful in Lewes. The twice-monthly Farmers Market held on Friars’ Walk car park (behind Premier Inn) has long struggled in the open air with rain and storms, and ideally needs to be under cover.

We need to increase our resilience to extreme weather and other disruptive events. One way is by supporting local food producers, who deserve more than the struggle with adverse weather that was evident  when I visited the market in November.

To this end, Friars’ Walk car park could have a solar PV roof, generating electricity for Lewes, and making market shopping a more pleasant experience. When the market is not there, anyone parking would get the benefit of being sheltered from the elements too.

Rain gardens could collect water from the panel roof and support a range of biodiversity. And when the weather switches to the other extreme of intense heat, there would be much-needed partial shade above to keep us all cooler.

What do you think of this idea? Share your thoughts in the comments below or email and we’ll see if we can take it further.