Solar farm the size of three football pitches to be operational this month

  • 12th March 2024

The opening of a solar farm next month will create the largest single source of green energy on a UK hospital site.

The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT), in partnership with City of Wolverhampton Council, has built the solar farm at a former landfill site, the size of 22 football pitches, adjacent to Bentley Way in Wednesfield.

Set to open in April, the facility will power the entire hospital site with self-generated renewable energy for around 288 days a year, saving the trust around £15m-20m over the next 20 years.

It will produce 6.9 MWp of renewable energy to New Cross Hospital, and generate an estimated carbon saving of 1,583 tonnes of CO2e per year.

Over 15,000 electricity generating solar panels have been installed at the site by main contractor, Vital Energi.

Work to secure the 40-plus acre brownfield site included protecting badger setts and removing methane.

(Pictured left to right) Jon Gwynn, project director, Carbon and Energy Fund (CEF); Ashley Malin, managing director, Vital Energi; Professor David Loughton CBE, group chief executive of RWT and Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust; and Stew Watson, group director of estates at RWT at the site of the new solar farm

The project, combined with existing green technologies, will allow the trust to move away from reliance on the National Grid and reduce its exposure to rising electricity costs in the next two decades.

It also supports its goal of reducing its carbon emissions by 25% by 2025, and of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.

Ashley Malin, managing director of Vital Energi, said: “We’re delighted to have transformed a former coal mine and landfill site into this impressive solar farm – the largest single source of green energy on a UK hospital site.

“The clean energy will power the hospital’s air source heat pumps and significantly reduce its carbon footprint.”

Work has also been completed on the underground cabling to connect the hospital to the solar farm.

RWT has received around £15m in grant funding for the project – comprising contributions from the Government’s Levelling-Up fund, the NHS, and Salix Finance.

The trust also received a further £33m to carry out ‘green energy works’ as part of the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme.

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