Work has started this week on the installation of a new field of solar panels at Cranfield University, in support of its carbon-saving target. 

Funded by the University, the photovoltaic (PV) panels are planned to be in operation by the end of March. They will generate 5% of the annual electricity at the campus and also provide a new renewable energy research facility to be used by students attending energy courses. 

Feargal Brennan, Cranfield’s Director of Energy and Power, said: “Cranfield has a reputation for providing students with the opportunity to use industrial-scale facilities for education and training support.

The solar farm will not only provide a new facility which can be used by students but also a sustainable, reliable and affordable energy supply to the campus.”

Installed by RenEnergy, the PV panels will be sited on the eastern side of the airport, covering a two hectare field (around four acres). A total of 3,508 solar panels will be fitted covering a 5,858 sqm generator surface area. They should produce one million KWh per year of power, which is about the equivalent of the energy consumed by 300 houses each year. 

Damian Baker, MD, RenEnergy, said: “We are delighted to have been appointed as the solar PV contractor for such a prestigious institution. RenEnergy has been involved with renewable energy in the UK since 2003, witnessing its steady growth as government and business familiarise themselves with the technology. 

“Solar integrates well into the existing infrastructure to provide a clean, cost-effective long-term power solution, as is the case at Cranfield, where our solar array will interact with the combined heat and power (CHP) plant onsite to provide energy without exporting to the grid.” 

Gareth Ellis, Energy & Environment Manager at Cranfield, said: “The University is committed to renewable energy and the installation of the PV panels will improve our carbon footprint.  

“Cranfield already has a CHP on site producing 60% of its electricity. We have made significant reductions in carbon emissions in recent years and are well on our way to achieving our target of a 50% reduction by 2020 against our 2005 figures.”

The University has also recently been re-certified to ISO14001 - an internationally recognised standard - for the next three years, for its environmental management system following an audit by BSI (British Standards Institute).

solar panels
solar panels

Notes for editors

About Ren Energy

RenEnergy is a full-service renewable energy company, specialising in commercial-scale solar PV.

An industry leader since 2006, we pride ourselves on using in-house expertise to design, deliver and maintain the highest quality engineering solutions to meet our customers’ economic and environmental sustainability targets.

With operations in the UK and South Africa, we have developed and delivered more than 80MW of solar PV for diverse and varied clients in both the public and private sector, tackling projects across many remote and difficult locations, including a system for the British Antarctic Survey.


About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.