Vodafone has signed its second major corporate solar power purchase agreement (PPA) in the UK. The deal gives Vodafone UK access to clean, high-quality and affordable renewable electricity for the next 10 years, offering price certainty and improved energy security.
Combined with agreements already in place, this new solar PPA means around 44% of the company’s annual energy needs will be fulfilled by UK-based renewable power sources by 2025. It is already the case that, of the grid electricity used by Vodafone in the UK, 100% is from certified renewable sources.
The five solar farms, located in Norfolk, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire, Buckinghamshire and Dorset, will generate a total of 216GWh of electricity and displace more than 53,000 tonnes of CO2e every year, the equivalent of taking around 31,400 cars off the road. Construction will begin this year; energy generation is expected from early 2024.
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Vodafone goes strong with solar power
Vodafone will purchase a significant proportion of the electricity output from the solar farms, securing their development and bringing additional renewable power provision to the UK Grid. The remainder will be sold through Centrica’s Energy Marketing & Trading business.
The deal, between Vodafone, Centrica as the power supplier, and MYTILINEOS as the generator, supports the UK government’s ambition to focus on home-grown, clean and more affordable energy. This will ultimately boost long-term energy independence and security.
Power Purchase Agreements are key to Vodafone’s renewable energy procurement strategy. This development follows an announcement last year to purchase a significant proportion of power from three new UK solar farms for the supply of 109GWh of renewable electricity. The first of these is now fully operational, with the others to follow in the coming months. Combined with two onshore wind farms, in Northamptonshire and Lincolnshire, Vodafone UK has secured access to renewable power from 10 sites across the UK.
Ahmed Essam, UK CEO, Vodafone, said: “The energy crisis has highlighted we must work together – as governments, businesses and society – to change how we produce and consume energy. Today’s announcement ensures a significant proportion of our energy requirement, for at least the next 10 years, is home-grown in the UK.
“I’m pleased Vodafone is helping to progress the development of new renewable power sites and supporting the delivery of green energy to the UK grid. Importantly, this also gives Vodafone UK improved energy security and price certainty and will help us achieve net zero for our UK operations by 2027”.
Feature a wind turbine, solar panels and rechargeable battery back-up, the technology could support the race to net zero and also help bring connectivity to ‘not-spots’ in remote and rural areas.
Chris O’Shea, Chief Executive Officer of Centrica, said: “Power purchase agreements such as this are going to be essential to the growth of renewable energy in the UK and Europe, helping secure guaranteed returns for developers, and encouraging growth in the sector. They are also key for helping large companies like Vodafone decarbonise its operations. We’re delighted to build on our longstanding relationship with Vodafone and support its net zero journey.”
Yiannis Kalafatas, Chief Executive Director of MYTILINEOS’ Energy Sector, stated: “We are excited about this second transaction with Vodafone, as this demonstrates our capability to support renewable energy and energy independence in the UK. We are also proud of being able to achieve such a milestone – both as a developer and a generator – by signing the biggest solar corporate PPA deal in the UK to date.”
Vodafone UK has made significant progress on its net zero and environmental agenda over the course of 2022, including:
powering its business and network with 100% renewable electricity
cutting its operational (Scope 1 and 2) emissions by 55%;
moving to a 73% electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid car fleet;
switching on UK’s first live ‘self-powering’ mobile phone mast incorporating a wind turbine, solar panels and on-site battery storage;
launching a new refurbished phone range and announcing a three-year partnership with WWF.