Suffolk Army base set to be powered by solar farm
- Credit: Mike Page
A Suffolk military site is set to be one of the first in the country to receive its electricity from solar power.
Rock Barracks near Woodbridge is one of four sites where solar farms will be constructed as part of a Ministry of Defence pilot project which should save £1million a year on running costs.
East Suffolk Council has already agreed permission for the renewable energy project at the Army barracks - home to the 23 Parachute Engineers Regiment - and it is expected to begin generating power this summer.
An area of around 8.5 acres will be used for the proposed photovoltaic solar park - a tiny amount of the site of the base, previously known as RAF Woodbridge, which covers nearly 1,000 acres and is home to around 500 personnel.
The solar park could provide 1.5MW of electricity - and power the equivalent of around 300 homes a year.
It will be sited on rough grassland to the north of the main barracks, outside the perimeter security fence although within the wider MoD land holding. It is bounded by barracks roads which formerly served as aircraft taxiways.
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Electricity from the project will power the barracks and is expected to mean a 29% reduction over the existing carbon emissions from electricity consumption on site . Any extra power will go into the National Grid to help the surrounding area.
Around 80 further solar farms are hoped to be introduced across the Army estate in the next seven years.
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Major General David Southall, director basing and infrastructure and the Army's sustainability champion, said: "The Army remains wholly committed to play its part in meeting the UK's commitment to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
"To deliver this, we are working hard to reduce energy demand as well as increase 'green' supply across our estate.
"Project Prometheus is an exciting pilot which will showcase renewable energy generation across the Army estate.
"When operational, we will learn from our four pilot sites and scale up fast across the wider Army estate to help decarbonise the power we use."
The other three pilot schemes are at the Defence School of Transport (DST) in Leconfield, East Yorkshire; Duke of Gloucester Barracks in South Cerney, Gloucestershire; and Baker Barracks on Thorney Island in West Sussex.