Planet | 27 Jun 2023

How Centrica’s new solar farm will help power Vodafone’s net zero ambitions

On a sunny day in June, Vodafone UK News headed to Centrica’s new solar farm in Codford, Wiltshire, to see first-hand how such sites are helping Vodafone reach net zero carbon emissions for its UK operations by 2027.  

Vodafone joined Centrica CEO Chris O’Shea and the Rt Hon Chris Skidmore MP, Chair of the Net Zero Review & Mission Zero Report, to open the site and take a look around.  

The 72-acre site is situated on a remote hilltop with splendid views across Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire. The 33,000 solar panels will produce up to 19 gigawatt hours (GWh) of ‘green’ electricity every year – that’s enough to power around 4,850 homes for the same period.    

Vodafone has supported the development of the site through a Power Purchase Agreement, which is an important part of the company’s renewable energy procurement strategy. In the case of Codford, Vodafone will purchase half of the electricity generated over the next 10 years, helping to secure the development of the site and bringing additional renewable power provision to the UK grid.

Vodafone signs second major solar power purchase agreement in UK, providing energy security and supporting its net zero goals

The five solar farms will generate a total of 216 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity, every year, saving more than 53,000 tonnes of CO2e.

This adds to several other such agreements Vodafone already has in place, giving it access to renewable electricity from 10 sites across the UK, including solar in Norfolk, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire, Buckinghamshire and Dorset, plus two onshore wind farms in Northamptonshire and Lincolnshire.  

Together, this means that UK-based renewable power sources will provide around 47% of Vodafone UK’s annual energy requirement by 2025.

Vodafone signs 10-year deal for three new solar farms in the UK securing clean energy and supporting its net zero ambitions

The deal helps support homegrown renewable energy as well as the UK's ambitions for long-term energy independence and security.

Francesca Serravalle, Vodafone’s UK Head of Infrastructure and Energy said: “Our network accounts for around 95% of our total energy usage in the UK, so making it as energy efficient as possible, and powering it sustainably, plays a key role in meeting our net zero goals.

“Agreements with sites like Codford are great for us as a company, as we get reliable power for the next 10-15 years at an agreed price, and transparency about where our green electricity is coming from.”   

Francesca also pointed out that such agreements bring more renewable power to the grid, helping the UK to reach its net zero targets, too.   

“It was brilliant to be here today to see our strategy in action,” she concluded.

Vodafone hits renewable milestone in the UK achieving important next step in its 'net zero' ambitions

Vodafone today confirmed that every area of its business in the UK – including its network, data centres, retail stores and offices – is now 100% powered by electricity from renewable sources, such as wind, solar and hydro.

Chris Skidmore MP OBE said: “I have always recognised the need for more renewable power as we seek to create a net zero power grid by 2035. The Net Zero Review called on the government to recognise that expanding solar power generation would be one of the most effective means of delivering net zero in the future. Our journey to net zero has already started and by opening this plant we are taking an important step forward towards unlocking the opportunities it will bring.” 

Vodafone UK already powers its business and network with 100% renewable electricity and is reducing its energy usage by modernising its networks, turning off what it doesn‘t need and upgrading to the most energy efficient technologies available.  Over the last 5 years, it has retired and consolidated 30 legacy systems in the UK, reducing its carbon emissions by 15,000 tonnes and energy usage by 167 million kilowatt-hours.

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