7th March 2024

Spring date set for Wolverhampton solar farm

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), City of Wolverhampton Council, and project partners including Vital Energi, have built the solar farm at a former landfill site the size of 22 football pitches, adjacent to Bentley Way, Wednesfield. It is set to open in April.

The facility will power the entire hospital site with self-generated renewable energy for around 288 days a year, and save the Trust around £15-20 million over the next 20 years – money which will be put back into frontline healthcare.

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

More than 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, allows the Trust to move away from reliance on the national grid and to reduce its exposure to rising electricity costs in the next two decades. It also supports the Trust’s goal of reducing its carbon emissions by 25 per cent by 2025, and of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2040.

Stew Watson, Director of Estates Development at RWT, said: “This investment is a huge boost to help us achieve that.

“Our primary focus is always on the patient and these works ensure the Trust saves money on future energy bills, which we can then subsequently invest across other healthcare services.”

“As the largest employer in Wolverhampton, we take sustainability very seriously and are committed to continually working to reduce our carbon footprint. We have taken a number of steps to reduce and better manage our energy consumption and operate in a sustainable manner. One of these steps is to look at using renewable energy so we are very pleased the development will be opening soon and delighted at the way the partnerships have worked out.”

Professor David Loughton CBE, Group Chief Executive at RWT

Ashley Malin, Managing Director at Vital Energi, added: “We’re delighted to have transformed a former coal mine and landfill site into this impressive solar farm, which is the largest single source of green energy on a hospital site within the UK.

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

Work has also been completed on the underground cabling to connect the hospital to the solar farm, which covers a distance of one and a half miles.

RWT has received around £15m in grant funding for the project. This comprised contributions from the government’s Levelling-Up fund, the NHS and Salix Finance, a government-funded body.

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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L-R: Jon Gwynne (CEF), Ashley Malin, Professor David Loughton CBE, Stew Watson

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