Portsmouth Naval Base is expecting to save more than £1 million on its energy bills over the next 20 years after installing a 500kW rooftop solar system.

Nearly 2,000 panels have been installed on two buildings at the naval base which is to be home to one of the new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers upon its completion in 2017.

Half of the panels were fitted by installer Southern Solar last week whereas the other half were installed by M3 Solutions using the company’s power roof solution rather than retrofitting solar panels on to the hangar’s existing roof structure.

Shaun Beattie, sales director at M3, said: “This was a particularly challenging installation. We had to completely remove the roof on the south side and, once the purlins were exposed, we had to ensure that the longitudinal rails were installed with millimetre accuracy to ensure there was no possibility of water ingress between the panels.”

Ken Hobbs, head of energy solutions and services at BAE Systems Maritime Services, which operates the facility, said the project was “important” for the naval base estate.

“Solar panels will generate power, transforming these buildings into clean energy producing facilities, improving efficiency and ultimately reducing costs for the Ministry of Defence,” Hobbs said.

The installation comes just two weeks after it was revealed that the UK’s largest solar farm had been installed at the Defence Infrastructure Organisation’s training facility at DTTC Lyneham, however this project does not fall under the Cabinet Office’s ongoing effort to install 1GW of solar capacity on government estate.

Instead the system comes under the Maritime Support Delivery Framework, which is an agreement between BAE Systems, the Royal navy and the Ministry of Defence to plan, engineer and manage naval facilities and estate within the UK.

“The project is all part of creating a more modern and energy-efficient Naval Base fit for the 21st century. This is an important step on the path to modernising the Base to support the Royal Navy on global operations,” Iain Greenlees, head of infrastructure at Portsmouth Naval Base, said.

The solar system’s installation comes after BAE Systems had already fitted a number of energy saving measures at the facility including LED street lighting, air-source heat pumps and intelligent control systems, all of which are expected to save the MoD more than £500,000 in costs this year.


This article has been amended from its original to include comment from M3 Solutions, installers of half the panels at Portsmouth Naval Base.