The UK Army opened the doors of its first pilot photovoltaic solar farm late last week, under a £200m programme known as Project Prometheus that is intended to increase the military’s use of renewable power. The new site is located at The Defence School of Transport (DST) in Leconfield.
Built by Centrica Business Solutions, the site is four hectares in size (roughly the equivalent of six football fields) and boasts 4,000 solar panels, with a peak capacity of 2.3 megawatts.
“This multi-million pound investment reaffirms our commitment to Net Zero 2050 and developing a more sustainable service,” said Jeremy Quin, Minister for Defence Procurement in a statement. “Significant investment will result in a more efficient and environmentally-friendly estate.”
Construction of three additional pilot sites is underway, with these located at the Duke of Gloucester Barracks in Gloucestershire, Rock Barracks in Suffolk, and Baker Barracks on Thorney Island, Sussex. Once all four are operational, they are anticipated to provide efficiency savings of £1m each year, as well as helping to curb 2,000 tonnes of CO2 annually. Energy produced will be used to supply personnel at the base, and the government has said any funds saved through the endeavour will be reinvested into ‘essential’ Army infrastructure.
Major General Southall CBE, the Director of Army Basing and Infrastructure, said: “Our first operational solar farm at Leconfield marks a key milestone in the Army’s go-green agenda; it showcases our firm commitment to tackle the effects of climate change, harnessing renewable energy to power our estate.”
As part of the government’s commitment to make its military greener, a £24bn increase in spending is expected over the next four years, as announced by the Prime Minister in November last year. Of this funding, £200m is predicted to be put towards solar power over the next decade.