The largest airport PV system in Britain has successfully been installed at London Southend Airport as part of a £10 million terminal expansion built by Kier Construction.

A total of 496 rooftop solar panels will be used to power the terminal’s newly constructed shops, cafes and restaurants through the airport’s private electricity network.

David Lister, airport operations director of London Southend Airport, said: “We are delighted to add the provision of clean solar electricity to a range of 'green' initiatives we've introduced as the terminal has developed. Environmentally-friendly initiatives are very important to us and the whole building has been designed to incorporate a number of them, including sustainable drainage, specialist coating to improve insulation, extensive glazing to enhance natural lighting and slow start escalators.”

The PV project was installed by Reading-based Photon Energy, which added panels supplied by Conergy to the airport’s curved tunnel-shaped roofs.

The project is expected to help the terminal receive a BRE Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) “Very Good” rating while also reducing carbon dioxide emissions by around 1,000 tonnes over the next 20 years.

Robert Goss, managing director, Conergy UK & Ireland, added: “The recent flooding and heavy rain are a reminder of why the buildings we put up today should consider the climate of tomorrow and produce as much zero-carbon energy as possible.

“The British solar industry can easily turn otherwise unused rooftops into mini-power stations, reducing demand on the grid and the need to import and burn coal or gas,” he added.