image of Sunderland AFC's Academy of Light building entrance.
Sunderland AFC’s proposal mirrors similar solar projects from major UK football clubs. Image: Twitter/Academy of Light.

Sunderland AFC has announced plans to develop a solar farm on land adjacent to its Academy of Light training ground, with a capacity of 40MW.

The proposal, part of the club’s sustainability strategy, will aim to reduce environmental impact and contribute to the UK’s low-carbon ambitions. The club plans a series of public exhibitions at the Academy of Light on 18, 20, and 22 July to invite feedback from local residents, supporters, and stakeholders before the formal planning application is submitted to South Tyneside Council.

The club is prioritising community involvement in the planning process, recognising the importance of local support and input. Mid-July’s public exhibitions aim to enhance transparency but also ensure that the project reflects the interests and concerns of local stakeholders.

Sunderland AFC’s proposal supports national net zero goals and responds to the climate emergency declarations made by South Tyneside in July 2019 and Sunderland City Council in December 2020.

The proposed solar farm is expected to significantly impact the region’s energy landscape, with Sunderland AFC aiming for energy self-sufficiency by 2028. The club’s proposal is the latest in a broad range of projects from UK football clubs, including a similar solar farm proposal from Manchester City and the more modest but already operational solar-powered, carbon-free ‘fan zone’ at Nottingham Forest.