Solar panels go up ahead of carriers’ arrival at Portsmouth Naval Base

SOLAR SAVINGS Ken Hobbs with the solar panels at Portsmouth Naval Base . Picture: Ashley Rawdon
SOLAR SAVINGS Ken Hobbs with the solar panels at Portsmouth Naval Base . Picture: Ashley Rawdon
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BRITAIN’S new supercarriers are prompting an eco-revolution at Portsmouth Naval Base, where 2,000 solar panels have just been installed.

The panels, which adorn the roofs of two buildings, are forecast to save the base more than £1m over the next 20 years and help boost capacity ahead of the arrival of HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.

Ken Hobbs, head of energy solutions and services at BAE Systems Maritime Services, said: ‘Our energy efficiency drive is part of an overall target to reduce our energy consumption at Portsmouth Naval Base.

‘Part of this is in preparation for the arrival of HMS Queen Elizabeth as these works will help to reduce the impact on the local electrical supply and increase our resilience for the future.’

Mr Hobbs said the team at BAE Systems was proud to be managing the project for the naval base.

He said: ‘Solar panels will generate power, transforming these buildings into clean energy producing facilities, improving efficiency and ultimately reducing costs for the Ministry of Defence (MoD).’

If they were all put together the solar panels would cover the surface of 16 tennis courts.

The first of the carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth, is expected to based in Portsmouth from 2017.

The naval base’s head of infrastructure, Captain Iain Greenlees, said: ‘The project is all part of creating a more modern and energy-efficient naval base fit for the 21st century.

‘This is an important step on the path to modernising the base to support the Royal Navy on global 
operations.’

The MoD is expecting to save more than £500,000 this financial year thanks to the panels, combined with other energy-saving initiatives at the base which have been project-managed by BAE Systems.

Other measures have included the installation of LED lighting in offices, LED street lighting, air-source heat pumps and intelligent control systems.

The 500kw panels are part of a contract which sustains more than 2,000 jobs and sees BAE Systems look after planning, engineering, hard-facilities management and estates services to deliver everything that is needed to live and work on the base.

Portsmouth City Council is also looking at installing solar panels on its buildings in a bid to save cash.