The 2.5 megawatt ‘Solar Photovoltaic Array’ was built by Stobart Developments and is located on 3.2 hectares of unused grassland at the north of the airport site.
The array consists of over 9,500 individual solar panels, which are mounted on 3 metre high steel frames supported on approximately 2600 piles across 37 rows. The layout of the panels has been specially designed to prevent reflective glare affecting approaching aircraft and the air traffic control tower.
Installation of the £2 million solar farm involving one hundred workers got underway in November 2015. It was registered with OfGEM on 31 December 2015 – however contractors are continuing on site during January for the final commissioning and hand-over.
The solar farm will now start supplying electricity to Southend Airport, with additional capability for limited power also being exported to the national grid.
Glyn Jones, Chief Executive Officer of Stobart Aviation that owns London Southend Airport said: “Our new solar farm is actually the largest at a UK airport and supports one of our key objectives, which is reducing our carbon footprint and the electricity we require from the national grid network. We are delighted as London’s newest airport to have opportunities to introduce the latest ‘green’ initiatives as part of our development.”
In 2014, Britain’s largest airport solar installation to date was completed at Southend Airport as part of the £10m terminal expansion. 496 solar panels now supply the terminal’s shops, cafes and restaurants with clean solar electricity via the airport’s private electricity network, avoiding around 1,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions over the next twenty years.