Vast solar membrane to span London's former Olympic stadium and West Ham's home

A general view of the London Stadium, home of West Ham United, as the pitch is transformed into a baseball field. Major League Baseball will return to the London Stadium on Saturday, June 24th as St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs face off in a two-game series. Picture date: Thursday June 15, 2023.
View of the London Stadium, home of West Ham United, as the pitch is transformed into a baseball field Credit: PA

A multi-million pound loan to install a vast ‘solar membrane’ on London’s former Olympic stadium is to be granted by City Hall.

The arena, now known as the London Stadium and home to West Ham United, is expected to produce fewer carbon emissions and enjoy lower energy bills as a result of the scheme.

The membrane will use “cutting edge solar technology” and will span some 6,000-7,000 square metres of photovoltaic material.

The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), the organisation spearheading the project, said it will “help drive savings of up to £350,000 a year”.

The loan for the scheme is being awarded from City Hall’s Green Finance Fund – a £500m pot launched in June as part of London Climate Action Week.

The exact size of the loan given will depend on the tender awarded. The LLDC have previously said in a budgeting document however that they expect the scheme to cost around £4m.

A general exterior view of the London Stadium duri Credit: PA

The tender process began last month, and is said by the LLDC to have received “significant interest” – with a briefing of potential suppliers being held this week. A delivery partner is expected to be appointed in November and the installation is scheduled to be complete by Summer 2024.

Ben Coulter, the LLDC’s head of sustainability, said: “The panels will generate more than 1 million kWh of renewable energy every year – 10 per cent of the Stadium’s current electricity usage.

“They will save around 270 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year – the equivalent of making 70 homes carbon neutral.

“It means we can showcase cutting edge solar technology on a venue with a global audience.

“The solar panel membranes will make significant savings to our carbon dioxide emissions and help drive savings up to £350,000 a year.”

A number of other projects across the capital are also set to benefit from the Green Finance Fund, including up to £34.2 million which Mayor Sadiq Khan has said will be made available for Transport for London (TfL) over the next three years.

These include new LED lights at Underground stations, replacement LED streetlights, new solar panels at Tube depots and energy efficient improvements to TfL buildings across the city. TfL’s schemes are together estimated to save at least 8,900 equivalent tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.

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