Peel Ports Group and E.ON embark on ‘UK’s largest’ solar project

Peel Ports Group, the UK’s second-largest port operator, has announced E.ON as one of its net-zero partners, helping to meet its goal of net-zero emissions by 2040.

As the first of a number of projects, plans have been announced to install the UK’s largest roof-mounted solar energy system at the Port of Liverpool, alongside a future project to repower the existing wind turbines on the banks of the River Mersey with fewer, larger turbines.

This is the first stage of a 25-year agreement between the two companies which will help Peel Ports Group reach its goal of net zero emissions by 2040 and could see as many as 63,000 solar panels – the same as 18 football pitches – installed on 26 buildings across Port of Liverpool.

The panels could generate up to 31MW of renewable electricity and provide the same amount of power as the yearly needs of more than 10,000 average UK homes.

The exact number of panels and their generation potential will be confirmed in the final designs but the solar array is expected to be the largest of its kind in the UK and will generate up to 25% of the Port’s annual electricity needs.

The solar panels will reduce CO2e emissions from the site by more than 6,500 tonnes each year, the equivalent of taking more than 2,250 cars off the road.

Minimising disruption within the local area, the project will be wholly contained within the existing footprint of the Port, using existing roof space and bringing all equipment and technology directly to the port by sea, removing any impact on local roads. More than 6,000 solar panels have already been delivered to the Port ready to be installed on the new 240,000 square foot Alexandra Dock warehouse which is nearing completion.

The project is being financed and delivered by E.ON with installation of the solar panels  underway and due to be completed by mid-2026. E.ON has committed to using local contractors where possible and will also be looking to work with local companies for the ongoing upkeep of the 25-year period.

The second stage of the agreement will replace the five existing wind turbines at the port with four new, larger turbines generating close to 20MW. This will bring Peel Ports Group within reach of its ambition of powering the Port of Liverpool entirely by renewable energy generated on site, including at night and over winter when the solar panels are not producing as much energy. It is expected this phase could begin as early as 2027/28 following planning consent and consultation with the local community.

Claudio Veritiero , CEO, Peel Ports Group, said, “We’re proud to be embarking on this long-term partnership with E.ON and to be undertaking this important project together, revolutionising the Port of Liverpool’s energy system. Ports of the future need to become more sustainable environments and we must play our part in a greener supply chain. There is still work to do, but this project is a huge step for Peel Ports Group in cutting emissions and driving our ambition to become a net-zero port operator by 2040.”

Chris Norbury, E.ON UK CEO, said, “The Port of Liverpool is a critical piece of infrastructure for the UK and decarbonising sites like this will be vital for the UK to achieve its environmental goals. Simply put, we all need to move faster on reducing emissions and this huge project will be a massive step in the right direction.

“We’ve been the energy supplier for Peel Ports Group for more than 20 years and I’m proud they’re putting their trust in us and our relationship so far to create what will be a clean energy system fit for decades to come. Our sustainable solutions help businesses with their environmental ambitions and will be crucial if we are to meet the UK’s 2050 net zero targets.”

Planning applications for the massive sustainable energy project have been lodged with Sefton Council and with Liverpool City Council.

The announcement reinforces Peel Ports’ commitment to a net-zero future, investing more than £1 billion over the last ten years on sustainable infrastructure, with a focus on reducing the emissions associated with its operations.

Specialists involved in the project include EMTEC, FES, Absolute Solar and Cogeo as planning co-ordinators.

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