BT has signed a £26 million deal with UK Sustainable Energy (UK-SE) to take 100 percent of the green energy generated by a solar farm near Ipswich, Suffolk, to help power BT’s Adastral Park research campus for the next 20 years.
The agreement, which BT says is the UK’s biggest dedicated private solar scheme, will see Adastral Park, BT’s main research and development site at Martlesham Heath, Suffolk, take 8MW of power from the newly developed solar site at Brightwell by the end of the year.
BT’s commitment has ensured that the new solar farm can be built. The solar farm covers 16 hectares, equivalent to around 40 football pitches, and contains more than 32,500 solar panels.
Dr Tim Whitley, BT’s head of research and managing director of Adastral Park, said, “As a leading technology centre for the UK we have a responsibility to find innovative ways of reducing our environmental impact. This contract represents another great step in reinforcing our sustainable energy plans for the park and BT.
"The agreement will mean that the solar farm will supply up to 90 percent of site demand on sunny summer days.”
More than 60 high-tech companies are now based at Adastral Park, with more than 4,000 people located at the growing technology cluster.
BT recently installed a smaller solar array at Adastral Park to generate some of its own green electricity, which will be used to supplement the Brightwell output, and measures to reduce the impact of food waste and road transport for workers at the site are also being implemented.
A wormery is being installed which will naturally recycle food waste generated by the on-site restaurant, and BT is encouraging technologists on site to consider green transport options, as well as providing charging points for electric cars.