The 82kWp system, installed by Solarcentury, will provide a proportion of the electricity needed to power Tate Modern’s various galleries.

The museum’s national and international programmes director Judith Nesbitt said: “For Tate Modern, installing a solar PV system is another small but important step in making the gallery as sustainable and efficient as possible.

“Together with our plans for heat recovery and natural ventilation in the new building, we are exploring a whole range of approaches to reducing energy use.”

Modern transition

The Tate building used to house Bankside power station, which last generated electricity in 1981. Since it became an art museum in May 2000, more than 70 million people have visited Tate Modern, making it the world’s most popular museum of modern art.

Solarcentury CEO Frans van den Heuvel said: “Becoming a corporate partner of Tate and marking it by installing solar is a perfect opportunity for Solarcentury to bring clean energy to the art world.

“Electrifying this former power station with its own clean energy system also reflects the global shift currently underway towards cleaner energy sources.

“It’s encouraging that we’re seeing a wave of solar spreading through London as recognition grows for the benefits of solar, still the most popular clean technology among the British public.”

Art attack

The Tate is following in the eco-friendly footsteps of the National Gallery, which become one of the first public buildings in the world to achieve 85% energy savings on lighting by combining the use of LED lighting with a system that automatically adjusts external roof blinds.

Overall the Gallery expects to save 765,000kWh of electricity – equivalent to 417 tonnes of CO2 emissions – meaning financial savings of £53,600 on energy bills and a further £36,000 on maintenance. 

Brad Allen

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