SSE Energy Solutions to develop ‘major solar project’ at Teesside Airport. Image: SSE Energy Soutions.

SSE Energy Solutions has confirmed it will develop what it states is a “major solar power project” at Teesside Airport, with a potential capacity of 50MW.

Teesside Airport and the energy giant reached an agreement to install the solar farm installed at the airport, and the groups announced the news today (11 September).

The first phase of this project will see up to 3MW of solar generation initially installed to meet both airport and local demand. Construction on this segment is expected to begin early next year.

Once this has been completed, further phases could deliver 50MW of additional capacity “over the coming years”, SSE stated.

Neil Kirkby, managing director at SSE Energy Solutions, said: “This fantastic project aligns perfectly with SSE Energy Solutions’ strategy to help local authorities transition to a net zero carbon future, while creating great opportunities for local people.

“To achieve this, we are building a strong presence within Teesside through the creation of a regional ‘hub’, the like of which we’re also establishing in many other regions across the UK.”

The solar project will aid the airport in achieving its net zero by 2030 ambitions. The majority of this solar capacity will be used to help decarbonise the airport's buildings, however Teesside Airport is also aiming to reduce carbon emissions throughout investments into its infrastructure. It also has plans to develop sustainable aviation fuel.

SSE also confirmed that plans are in place to install a new ultra-rapid electric vehicle (EV) charging hub powered by the solar array in line with the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority’s ambition to increase the number of public EV chargepoints in Tees Valley by 200% by 2025.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “This landmark agreement has the potential to deliver one of the biggest solar projects of its size in the UK and will deliver our ambition to make the airport net zero. Indeed, it likely means the airport will be the first in the country to be carbon neutral.

“Our work with SSE Energy Solutions again proves how we can attract the biggest and best companies to our region to work on innovative schemes, which provide well-paid, highly skilled jobs and serious investment while also delivering a greener future.”

A number of airports have been exploring the use of solar as a means to supply renewable energy throughout the buildings and operations. Solar Power Portal previously reported that solar was providing London Southend Airport with 25% of its annual energy consumption in a bid to reduce its carbon footprint.

In May 2023, Bristol Airport revealed that it had started work on a 2.8-acre solar farm which would help generate at least 16% of the airport’s direct energy needs over the year.