Army boosts green credentials with first solar farm

Huge Defence School of Transport scheme is opening project in £200m renewables drive
Part of the Defence School of Transport's new solar farm Credit: British Army

By Jim Dunton

06 Oct 2021

The Ministry of Defence has announced the opening of the first of four solar farms that will power parts of the British Army estate as part of a £200m renewables drive that military top brass are keen to accelerate.

Minister for defence procurement Jeremy Quin this week cut the ceremonial ribbon on the 4,000-plus panel facility at the Defence School of Transport at Leconfield in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

Roughly the size of six football pitches and capable of generating around 2.3 megawatts of electricity at peak capacity, the MoD said the solar farm was expected to cut DST’s annual electricity bill by one-third and save 700 tonnes of carbon emissions in the process.

Quin said the four pilot sites for the Army’s “Project Prometheus” programme underscored its intention to play its part in tackling climate change, and reducing utility bills in the process.

“This multi-million pound investment reaffirms our commitment to Net Zero 2050 and developing a more sustainable service,” he said. “Significant investment will result in a more efficient and environmentally-friendly estate.”

DST’s solar farm was built by Centrica Business Solutions. The other three pilot sites are being constructed by solar car-park specialist 3ti at the Duke of Gloucester Barracks in Gloucestershire, Rock Barracks in Suffolk and Baker Barracks on Thorney Island in West Sussex.

The MoD said the four sites were targeting energy savings in the region of a combined £1m a year once they were fully operational.

Project Prometheus has broader ambitions to deliver 80 solar farm projects on the British Army estate by 2030, with the first four pilots aimed at shaping the programme.

British Army director of basing and infrastructure Maj Gen David Southall said the plan for the project was to “think big, start small, scale fast”.

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