Major London sites to be powered by new Dorset solar farm

Iconic London landmarks including Tower Bridge, Hampstead Heath, and the Barbican Centre will be powered by renewable electricity from a new solar farm in Dorset.

The City of London Corporation, which owns these sites, governs the capital’s Square Mile global financial centre.

It is also a major London public services provider, running schools, social housing, open spaces, and wholesale markets across the capital. They will all receive electricity from the solar site.

Its historic buildings at Guildhall, Smithfield Market, and the Old Bailey - which is recognised as the most famous criminal court in the world - will also run on the sustainable energy supply.

In 2020, the City Corporation agreed a £40 million deal with international energy provider Voltalia to buy all the electricity produced by the new solar farm for 15 years. The facility has just been completed and will provide over half of the City Corporation’s electricity from 1 January 2023.

The Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) is the first of its kind in the UK to be signed directly between a renewables producer and a governing authority.

With over 91,000 panels, the site will have a capacity of 49.9 megawatts ­– equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of approximately 35,000 people.

It will help the City Corporation slash its fossil fuel use and save over £3 million in energy costs per year.

Over £800k has been invested with companies within 25 miles of the scheme, supporting local businesses.

Chairman of the City Corporation’s Environment Committee, Keith Bottomley, said:

“This scheme is a pioneering blueprint by the City Corporation for local authorities across the UK, cutting carbon emissions and giving cheaper, more secure energy, protected from the price volatility of energy markets.

“The deal will increase our green energy supply, has no reliance on taxpayer funding, and helps us transition quickly away from fossil fuels.”

CEO of Voltalia, Sébastien Clerc, said:

“The completion of South Farm is a great achievement. I would like to warmly thank all the Voltalia teams and our local British suppliers and subcontractors, who have been working together on this project.

“In the current energy crisis, we are very proud to supply clean and cheap electricity to some of London’s most iconic landmarks. With this 15 year contract we are actively supporting the City Corporation in mitigating its energy budget volatility and reaching its net zero target."

The deal is part of the City Corporation’s Climate Action Strategy, which commits it to reaching net zero in its own operations by 2027, and in its investments and supply chain by 2040. It is also supporting the achievement of net zero for the whole Square Mile by the same year. The organisation is investing £68m to achieve these goals.

The City Corporation has been sourcing 100 per cent renewable electricity through existing infrastructure since 2018.  

It manages over 11,000 acres of open space in London and south-east England, including Epping Forest and Hampstead Heath, and over 200 smaller sites in the Square Mile. These sites remove around 16,000 tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere a year, equivalent to 44% of the City Corporation’s annual carbon footprint.

Notes to editors

Image credits: Voltalia

About the City of London Corporation

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK. www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

 About Voltalia

Voltalia is an international player in the renewable energy sector. The Group produces and sells electricity generated from wind, solar, hydraulic, biomass and storage facilities that it owns and operates. Voltalia has generating capacity in operation and under construction of more than 2.4 GW and a portfolio of projects under development representing total capacity of 13.6 GW. 

Voltalia is also a service provider and supports its investor clients in renewable energy projects during all phases, from design to operation and maintenance.  

As a pioneer in the corporate market, Voltalia provides a global offer to private companies, ranging from the supply of green electricity and energy efficiency services to the local production of their own electricity.

The Group has more than 1,450 employees and is present in 20 countries on 3 continents and is able to act worldwide on behalf of its clients.

Voltalia is listed on the regulated market of Euronext Paris, compartment B (FR0011995588 – VLTSA) and is part of the Enternext Tech 40 and CAC Mid & Small indices. The Group is also included in the Gaïa-Index, an index for socially responsible midcaps.