A new solar array which could eventually deliver enough green electricity to power the equivalent of more than 17,000 homes has been announced as part of a new Joint Venture between SSE Energy Solutions and Teesside International Airport.
The first phase of the project is due to enter construction in early 2024 and will see up to 3MW of solar generation initially installed to meet airport and local demand.
Further phases of the project could ultimately deliver 50 MW of capacity over the coming years, which could make it one of the biggest solar projects in the UK and capable of displacing over 20,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the electricity supply network each year.
In 2022, Teesside International Airport announced plans to make its operations net zero by the end of the decade through the decarbonisation of its buildings and infrastructure and development of sustainable aviation fuel production in the region.
There are also plans for the airport, with SSE, to install a new ultra-rapid electric vehicle (EV) charging hub powered by the solar array in line with the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority’s ambition to increase the number of public EV charging points in Tees Valley by 200% by 2025.
SSE is investing £10 m a day to establish clean energy infrastructure across the UK by 2026.
Neil Kirkby, Managing Director of Enterprise at SSE Energy Solutions, said:
“This fantastic project aligns perfectly with SSE Energy Solutions’ strategy to help local authorities transition to a net zero carbon future, while creating great opportunities for local people.
To achieve this, we are building a strong presence within Teesside through the creation of a regional “hub”, the like of which we’re also establishing in many other regions across the UK”.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said:
"Our work with SSE Energy Solutions again proves how we can attract the biggest and best companies to our region to work on innovative schemes, which provide well-paid, highly skilled jobs and serious investment while also delivering a greener future.
"This landmark agreement has the potential to deliver one of the biggest solar projects of its kind in the UK and will deliver our ambition to make the airport net zero. Indeed, it likely means the airport will be the first in the country to be carbon neutral.”
Phil Clements, Director of Energy Infrastructure at SSE Energy Solutions said:
“I’m thrilled that our project takes a great step towards establishing a net-zero carbon future for the people and businesses of Teesside.
“I’m proud that SSE is playing a part in helping deliver the decarbonisation plan set out by Mayor Houchen’s Combined Authority, and in doing so bringing jobs and additional investment to the area.”