The 4.84MWp Crookedstone facility, located a third of a mile from the airport’s terminal building, is also set to save 2,100 tonnes of carbon emissions each year – equivalent to taking 469 cars off the road.

The solar farm generates more than a quarter of Belfast International’s annual electricity needs, and has reportedly enabled the airport to run on solar power alone for nine hours at certain peak generation times.

Belfast International Airport operations director Alan Whiteside said: “The solar farm project has exceeded all expectations. From switch-on in March to the end of the year, the ‘ballpark’ savings were over £100,000.

“The project is consistently delivering a reliable ‘green’ and cost-saving energy supply for the airport. No other airport in either the rest of the UK or Ireland has a similar energy source and we’re delighted with its operation.”

Crookedstone is the largest solar energy connection to an airport in the UK and Ireland. The entire project was funded and operated by solar generator Lightsource Renewable Energy through a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), the largest of its kind for UK airports.

Lightsource chief executive Nick Boyle said: “We are really thrilled that Belfast International Airport are being rewarded for the vision that they showed in switching to solar energy with Lightsource. We worked hand in hand with the team at Belfast to deliver a project which would meet their needs. 

“Not only has this project significantly reduced their emissions, it has significantly improved their bottom line. That’s the benefit that a Lightsource Private Wire agreement can deliver for a business.” 


The announcement follows a string of low-carbon, resource-efficient commitments from the UK’s largest airports. Heathrow Airport’s chief executive John Holland-Kaye recently announced that all of the airport’s energy usage will be generated from renewable sources within the next few months, ahead of its controversial expansion.

Gatwick’s newly opened £3.8m waste processing plant not only allows the airport to process Category 1 waste safely on-site, it can also convert it – along with all other organic waste from the airport – into energy to power itself and, eventually, provide heat for the nearby North Terminal.

Gatwick recently took edie on a tour of the new site, providing a first-hand experience of how the plant will boost the airport’s recycling rate from 52% in 2016 to around 85% by 2020. You can watch a video of that tour below.

George Ogleby

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