The governing body of the Square Mile has signed a power purchase agreement with Voltalia – an international player in renewable energies – to buy all the electricity produced by a new-build 95,000-panel solar farm in Dorset for 15 years.
The deal, the first of its kind in the UK to be signed directly between a renewables producer and governing authority, will enable Voltalia to leverage cash to build the facility, while saving the City Corporation around £3m in energy costs.
It says the arrangement will allow cost certainty and avoid the risks involved with local authority-owned energy firms, following recent high-profile selloffs of loss-making council-owned companies in Nottingham and Bristol.
The solar plant will have a total capacity of 49.9 megawatts – enough to power the equivalent of 15,000 homes – and will provide over half the City Corporation’s electricity, powering buildings including its historic Guildhall headquarters, three wholesale markets and the Barbican arts centre.
The new deal forms part of the organisation’s wider commitment to climate action. Its Climate Action Strategy, launched last month, commits it to making the Square Mile net zero for carbon emissions by 2040 – ten years earlier than Government goals.