British Army launches solar energy drive to support government’s 2050 net zero goal

The British Army has announced its plans for the first in a fleet of solar farms in a move intended to increase green energy use across the Ministry of Defence’s estate.

As part of Project Prometheus, the first site will span around four hectares at the Defence School of Transport (DST) in Leconfield, Yorkshire. Construction began on the 2.3MW solar farm earlier this year. 

The installation of 4,248 Trina Vertex panels is predicted to supply the DST with one third of its electricity needs.

In total, the four pilot sites aim to save £1 million in efficiency savings and reduce emissions by 2,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year. 

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said: “These cost savings will be reinvested into Army infrastructure and help to reach the Army’s ambition of Net Zero by 2045.”

Three further pilots are planned for Duke of Gloucester Barracks, South Cerney, Gloucestershire, Rock Barracks, Suffolk and Baker Barracks on Thorney Island, Sussex. 

They are scheduled for delivery by the summer, with the aspiration to deliver a further circa 80 solar farms across the army estate in the next seven years.

Major general, David Southall, director of basing and infrastructure and the Army’s sustainability champion, said: “The Army remains wholly committed to play its part in meeting the UK’s commitment to achieve 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 Army, through Prometheus, is showing our commitment to positive green initiatives, driving impressive energy efficiency savings.”

Project Prometheus is one project in the Army’s wider net zero strategy. Other projects include a pilot scheme for thermal battery storage, a habitat creation scheme with Exeter University and a number of efforts to reduce carbon footprint at HQ and in Army accommodation. 

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