A new solar farm has been built next to London Southend Airport where it is delivering around 20% of the airport’s annual electricity demand.
The 2.5MW array was built by the Stobart Group, which bought the airport in 2008, and consists of over 9,500 individual solar panels placed on unused grassland at the north of the airport site. The layout of the panels has been specially designed to prevent reflective glare affecting approaching aircraft and the air traffic control tower.
Installation of the £2 million solar development began in November 2015 before it was registered with Ofgem on 31 December and according to a spokesperson, the installation was fully funded by Stobart without the use of any government support. Contractors are due to remain on site this month to carry out works before commissioning and the final hand-over.
Glyn Jones, chief executive officer of Stobart Aviation, said: “Our new solar farm is actually the largest at a UK airport and supports one of our key objectives, which is reducing our carbon footprint and the electricity we require from the national grid network. We are delighted as London’s newest airport to have opportunities to introduce the latest ‘green’ initiatives as part of our development.”
In March 2014, the largest solar installation at an airport at that time was completed at London Southend Airport when 496 panels were installed as part of a terminal extension. The array now supplies shops, cafes and restaurants with clean solar electricity via the airport's private electricity network, avoiding around 1,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions over the next twenty years