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

A solar farm which will power Wolverhampton’s New Cross Hospital for three quarters of the year is set to be up and running this spring.

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, 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 £15-20 m 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 annum.

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. 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 per cent by 2025, and of reaching ‘Net Zero’ carbon emissions by 2040.

Pictured – left to right – are Jon Gwynn, Project director, Carbon and Energy Fund (CEF), Ashley Malin, MD, Vital Energi, Professor David Loughton CBE, Group Chief Executive of The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT) and Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, and Stew Watson, Group Director of Estates at RWT.

Ashley Malin 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 £15 m 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 £33 m 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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