The solar is expected to supply one third of the Duke of Gloucester Barracks’ electricity needs. Image: 3ti.

Building work on a new solar farm at the Duke of Gloucester Barracks, South Cerney, has been started by 3ti.

Part of Project Prometheus, the site – which is due to be completed by September – is one of four planned to increase renewable energy across the Defence estate. Spanning around 2.3 hectares, the solar at the Duke of Gloucester Barracks is expected to supply one third of its electricity needs. Groundwork and ecological surveys at the Barracks are underway, with over 50 employees to work on the 3,000 panel project.

Meanwhile, the first project, a 2.3MW solar farm at the British Army’s Defence School of Transport, has already been installed by Centrica Business Solutions. The other two projects at the Rock Barracks in Suffolk and Baker Barracks on Thorney Island, Sussex, will be built by 3ti.

In total, 4.4MWp is to be installed across Project Prometheus, with the four pilot solar farms installed as part of it to result in a combined £1 million in efficiency savings. These cost savings are to be reinvested into Army infrastructure and help to reach its ambition of net zero by 2050.

Tim Evans, founder and CEO at 3ti, said the projects “highlight the commitment of the British Army” to renewables.

The rollout is not the first intended to go on the government's estate, having abandoned plans to install 1GW of solar on its estate in 2015, just 17 months after the scheme was launched. Solar Power Portal revealed in 2018 that the scheme had been quietly shuttered after only 100MW of solar was installed across two airfields owned by the Ministry of Defence.

In February 2021, new plans to rollout solar PV across two Southern England prisons were announced, with rooftop solar planned for HMP Bure near Norwich in Norfolk and ground-mount solar planned for Whitemoor Prison in Cambridgeshire. Then in May, it was announced that the Ministry of Justice is aiming for solar installations across four new prisons being built in England.

Beyond the Project Prometheus pilots, the British Army has aspirations to deliver around 80 solar farms across its estate over the next seven years, and it is also running a variety of other sustainable initiatives, including Project TAURUS, which saw a solar carport with electric car charging and battery storage built at the British Army Headquarters.