Solar power installation at Portsmouth International Port

Published: April 11 2022

The installation of a ground-breaking solar and battery system (pictured) has begun at Portsmouth International Port.

The scheme, managed by Portsmouth City Council’s in-house energy services team, includes roof-mounted panels being installed across several buildings, battery storage, and solar canopies.

When completed, the power produced will meet around 35% of the site’s total energy needs, a major step towards the ambition to make it Britain’s first net-zero carbon port.

The installation is due to be completed this summer (2022), and as well as generating carbon-free power, the solar canopies will provide shade for cars waiting to board ferries, allowing them to stay cooler for longer without having to run their engines.
The storage battery, with a capacity of 1.5 megawatt hours (enough to run a typical home for four months), will capture green power that would otherwise be exported from the site and use it when required.

Once the installation is complete, it is hoped that 98% of the electricity consumed by the port will come from the solar arrays working in tandem with the battery storage.

Portsmouth City Council Cabinet Member for Climate Change and the Green Recovery, Councillor Kimberly Barrett, said: “I’m delighted to see that work has begun on this ground-breaking project. Once completed, this new system will reduce Portsmouth’s carbon emissions, in line with our commitment to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2030.

“This innovative project, incorporating rooftop solar PV, solar canopies and large-scale battery storage will reduce annual emissions by 239 tonnes at this busy site.”

Jerry Clarke, pilot, and senior project manager at Portsmouth International Port, said: “The port is owned by the people of Portsmouth, so we have a duty to control and reduce the impact of port operations on the local environment.

He added: “Combined with other sustainability initiatives, it will help us achieve our ambition of becoming one of the UK’s first zero emission ports by 2050.”

The work is the latest in a series of solar and battery projects being managed by the council’s in-house energy services team. It procured Custom Solar to work on the project after a competitive tender exercise through the council’s newly established PV and Storage framework.

Energy efficiency improvements are not just available to commercial sites, but individual homes as well – Portsmouth residents can apply for free energy efficiency measures through Switched On Portsmouth: