It was previously thought that the roofs of the stands at Franklin’s Gardens couldn’t support solar, but due to Solivus’s ultra-thin design they were able to be installed. Image: Solivus .

UK-based greentech startup Solivus has completed the installation of more than 600 ultra-thin-layer solar panels on the roof of Premiership rugby club Northampton Saints' stadium.

The panels have been fitted on the roof of the Church’s and Barwell Stands at Cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens, on roofs previously thought to be unsuitable for solar installations.

“There are 1,000s of buildings with roof space like ours that you can't use for any other purpose,” said Julia Chapman, finance and operations director at Northampton Saints, pointing to how the thin-film solution opened up the potential of the stands.

“This gives us commercial benefit, as well as reducing our carbon footprint so it’s worth considering.”

The installation builds on the Northampton Saints' previous commitment to solar power, with 200 solar panels fitted at Franklin’s Gardens back in 2013.

Using lighter solar solutions makes 2.5 billion m2 of south-facing roof space accessible for clean energy generation, according to Solivus.

“The rising cost of energy and the question of energy security due to the invasion of Ukraine is making businesses consider alternative sources of energy, including self-generated solar energy,” added CEO of Solivus, Jo Parker-Swift.

“A stumbling block for solar uptake has been providing panelling that is light enough and effective enough to take advantage of unusable rooftop space. Our innovative ‘skin like’ thin-film solar solutions fit most roofs, thus eliminating this barrier to adoption. Rolling out this type of solar technology across the UK would make a huge leap towards the decarbonisation of the UK’s energy.”

Increasingly, sports stadiums are looking to reduce their emissions by installing solar generation, with rugby clubs including Llanelli Scarlets, Hemsworth Rugby Club and Driffield Rugby Club all utilising the clean energy technology.

Beyond rugby, football stadiums are also looking to green their operations with Tottenham Hotspur installing rooftop solar and battery storage, and Bristol City signing a power purchase agreement for solar energy. Similarly the Geraint Thomas National Velodrome in Newport has installed 2,000 solar panels, working with community solar organisation Engi Co-op.