British Army combats emissions with launch of solar PV farm

Image credit: Centrica

The British Army has announced it will launch defence’s first photovoltaic solar farm at the Defence School of Transport (DST), Leconfield.

The solar array is the first of four pilot sites delivered as part of Project PROMETHEUS to increase renewable energy across the defence estate.

Spanning approximately four hectares, Centrica Business Solutions started construction of the 2.3MW solar farm earlier this year. Thirty employees are working on the project, installing 4,248 Trina Vertex panels, which is predicted to supply the DST with one third of its electricity needs.

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Together, the four pilot sites will result in à‚£1 million ($1.4 million) in efficiency savings and reduce emissions by 2,000 tCO2e (tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent) per year. These cost savings will be reinvested into Army infrastructure and help to reach the Army’s ambition of Net Zero by 2045.

Major General David Southall, director basing and infrastructure and the Army’s sustainability champion, said: “The Army remains wholly committed to playing its part in meeting the UK’s commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. To deliver this, we are working hard to reduce energy demand as well as increase ‘green’ supply across our estate.

“Project PROMETHEUS is an exciting pilot which will showcase renewable energy generation across the Army estate. When operational, we will learn from our four pilot sites and scale-up fast across the wider Army estate to help decarbonise the power we use”.

Defence procurement minister Jeremy Quin said: “Project PROMETHEUS is an example of how Defence is actioning its all-encompassing approach to reducing carbon emissions and increasing sustainability, announced last week”.

The three further pilots at Duke of Gloucester Barracks, South Cerney, Gloucestershire; Rock Barracks, Suffolk; and Baker Barracks on Thorney Island, Sussex are scheduled for delivery by Summer 2021. The aspiration is to deliver a further circa 80 solar farms across the army estate in the next seven years.

Greg Mckenna, Managing Director of Centrica Business Solutions, said: “It is incumbent on organisations big and small to show leadership in meeting net zero, and the army is doing just that. Large scale solar projects like this can create significant cost and carbon savings, helping customers accelerate their transition to a sustainable future”.

Project PROMETHEUS is one of several sustainable initiatives employed by the army to support the UK Net Zero legislation. Other ongoing projects include:

  • Project TAURUS: A solar carport at British Army Headquarters with electric car charging ports and battery storage. A second phase is planned for six further solar carports across all regions
  • Project KELPIE: A pilot for thermal battery storage
  • Buildings Efficiency Management Systems (BEMS): To improve sub-metering across the estate
  • Near Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB): To enhance the energy efficiency of Single living accommodation (SLA)
  • Project ROMULUS: The development of an information system to detail each building and facilities’ carbon footprint.
  • Project MARKER: A habitat creation scheme and a natural capital research project with Exeter University.

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