Farnborough Airport is to embark on one of the largest solar installations in the UK's south east region.
The innovative and extensive plans will see solar panels mounted on the airport's iconic curved hangar roofs as well as on its terminal building, the control tower, its ground support facility building and its award-winning, 169 room hotel, the Aviator Hampshire. The installation will also enable the airport's operational fleet of electric vehicles to be charged using self-generated electricity.
The solar installation project is aligned with the airport's wider sustainability goals, as CEO Simon Geere explains: “In our efforts to be a sustainability showcase for airports around the world, we are always looking for new ways to supply and create sustainable energy sources; the new solar installation will enable us to reduce our controllable emissions as set out in our Net Zero Roadmap, in which we have committed to be Net Zero by 2030 or sooner.” The installation also aligns with a recent UK government bill that encourages more rooftop solar, as opposed to solar installations on agricultural land.
Construction is to start in 2023 and will be carried out by solar power generation providers Solivus. Forty per cent of large buildings like aircraft hangars are unable to take the weight of conventional solar, but Farnborough embraced this decarbonisation opportunity. Solivus CEO Jo Parker-Swift comments: “At Solivus we are on a mission to simplify the decarbonisation of the built environment, so we are proud to be working alongside a business that has likeminded goals.”
The solar installation plans follow a series of successful milestones in recent years at Farnborough Airport. In 2018, it was the first business aviation airport to achieve Carbon Neutral 3+ status. In 2021, it began offering SAF to all customers and in 2022, for a two week trial period in the lead up to the Farnborough International Airshow, it became the first airport in the world to offer SAF at the same price as standard Jet A1 fuel.
Also in 2022, the airport made a commitment to be Net Zero by 2030 or sooner for emissions within its control, setting one of the most ambitious targets in the aviation industry. Earlier this year, it was awarded Level 4+, the highest level of carbon accreditation, by the Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) scheme.