Wolverhampton solar farm to power hospital
Wind turbines reflected in solar panels.

In Partnership with City of Wolverhampton Council, the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT) has built a solar farm the size of 22 football pitches at a former landfill site.

The facility, which is set to open in April, will power the entire New Cross Hospital site with self-generated renewable energy for around 288 days a year (around three quarters of the year).

It is hoped the development will save the Trust around £15-20 million over the next 20 years – and that the money saved can be reinvested into frontline healthcare.

The site will produce 6.9MWp of renewable energy for New Cross Hospital and will generate an estimated carbon saving of 1,583 tonnes of CO2e per annum.

New life for the site

The site was previously mined for coal and operated as a landfill until 1996, when it was closed and capped. The Environment Agency has regulated the site since then and ensured monitoring and maintenance of the site is managed in accordance with its environmental permit.

According to the council, the unused site, adjacent to an industrial site, had experienced anti-social behaviour and fly-tipping.  

Joe Craddock, environment officer at the Environment Agency said: “It’s fantastic to see a former landfill being used in this way to provide a renewable energy source for the hospital.

“We have taken the opportunity of working with the council to not only maintain but also improve the infrastructure of the closed landfill. 

We have required City of Wolverhampton Council to review and improve the leachate and gas wells on the site and make updates to the gas flare.

“We will continue to monitor and manage the site as it changes its use into a new source of renewable energy.”  Before construction of the farm, work was undertaken to protect badger setts and remove methane. Now, more than 15,000 electricity generating solar panels have been installed at the site.

Net zero

It is hoped that the project, along with other green technologies, will help the trust to move away from reliance on the national grid and to reduce its exposure to rising electricity costs in the next two decades.

It is also part of the Trust’s plan to reduce its carbon emissions by 25 per cent by 2025, and to reach ‘net zero’ carbon emissions by 2040.

The hospital already has a combined heat and power system and harnesses heat from a waste incinerator. 

Stew Watson, director of estates development at RWT, said: “This investment is a huge boost to help us achieve that.

“Our primary focus is always on the patient and these works ensure the Trust saves money on future energy bills, which we can then subsequently invest across other healthcare services.”

Professor David Loughton CBE, group chief executive at RWT, said: “As the largest employer in Wolverhampton, we take sustainability very seriously and are committed to continually working to reduce our carbon footprint.

“We have taken a number of steps to reduce and better manage our energy consumption and operate in a sustainable manner.

“One of these steps is to look at using renewable energy so we are very pleased the development will be opening soon and delighted at the way the partnerships have worked out.”

Work has also been carried out on the underground cabling to connect the farm to the hospital.


The project has been financed by around £15 million of grant funding, including contributions from the government’s Levelling-Up fund, the NHS and Salix Finance.
A further £33 million was allocated to the Trust to carry out green energy works as part of the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme.
David Mackey, chief executive of the Carbon and Energy Fund (CEF) said: “From the initial concept with the City of Wolverhampton Council to viability and Trust approval, contractor procurement, funding acquisition, technical assistance, project management and successful completion of the scheme, it’s been a pleasure to support the Trust in achieving its net-zero goal.”

City of Wolverhampton Council carried out a climate change consultation and 82 per cent of residents said they would welcome solar farms in the city. The council declared a climate emergency in July 2019.
Councillor Craig Collingswood, cabinet member for environment and climate change at City of Wolverhampton Council, said: “We have worked hard in partnership with the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust to bring this project to fruition on land that has been disused for years.
“This pioneering solar farm in Wolverhampton demonstrates our commitment to tackling climate change which is critical to protect our planet for generations to come.
“Since declaring our Climate Emergency in July 2019, the council has been supporting its partners towards making Wolverhampton zero carbon.     

“I’m pleased to see the council supporting the local hospital in achieving its ambitions to reduce carbon emissions in the city. The new solar farm development will certainly have a positive impact in making Wolverhampton a greener city.”