Hampshire aims for world’s ‘greenest’ cricket ground as 1,000 solar panel project approved

  • Utilita Energy to install 1,000 solar panels at Utilita Bowl in Southampton
  • Solar panels will generate 100% of the venue’s energy on match days 
  • Installation expected to take eight weeks 

Utilita Energy to install 1,000 solar panels at Hampshire Cricket’s ground

Utilita Energy will install 1,000 solar panels at the home of Hampshire Cricket as part of its plans to transform it into the ‘world’s greenest cricket ground’ after the plans were approved by Eastleigh Borough Council. 

The solar panels will generate 25% of the 25,000 seater Utilita Bowl’s annual power and 100% of the electricity used on match days. 

Installation will begin on 17th June 2024 and will take approximately eight weeks.

The plans were originally announced in January 2024 when Utilita Energy entered into a multi-year deal for the naming rights for the ground, which was originally known as the Rose Bowl and most recently the Ageas Bowl, after the Hampshire-based insurance company.

The purpose of the agreement between Hampshire Cricket and Utilita Energy is to turn the ground into the world’s most eco-friendly cricket venue in the world.

David Mann, CEO of the said Utilita Bowl, said the agreement will “shape our vision of creating the greenest international cricket venue in the world.

“This is the dawn of a new era for the venue, and we’re excited by the possibilities this partnership will offer”. 

The plans come as the ground is set to host 19 high-profile cricket matches between 2025 and 2031, including a Men’s Ashes Test in 2027 and a Women’s Ashes Test in 2031. 

Utilita Energy said the solar panels will save Hampshire Cricket at least £100,000 a year in electricity every year, as well as 80 tonnes of carbon, which is roughly the same as a vehicle that drives 301,855 miles. As well as that, they will generate 381,829kWh per year.

The money saved by the solar panels will be reinvested back into improving the ground’s facilities and customer experience. 

They will be spread across the roofs of five buildings at the Utilita Bowl, with 600 going on atop the ground’s hotel and 180 going on the East and West stands. 

Bill Bullen, CEO at Utilita Energy, said when the plans were launched in January that the company will work with the Utilita Bowl to ensure they “lead the way in becoming more sustainable across all aspects of their operations”. 

“The cheapest and greenest energy is the energy we don’t use, and that’s exactly what this partnership is designed to do – cut energy usage. 

“This support doesn’t stop at the venue itself but is extended to the over half a million visitors who walk through its doors each year. This truly is a unique, first-of-its-kind partnership in British sport.”

George Walters, also of Utilita, described solar energy as “one of the most effective ways that a business can reduce its reliance on using electricity from the National Grid”.

“Solar is just the first step in enabling the venue to become net zero. This partnership will benefit from the learnings, results and innovations created by Utilita’s own journey towards becoming a net zero business by 2030 – the most ambitious target across the UK retail energy sector.”

Solar panels have huge potential to help businesses of all sizes cut their energy costs and carbon footprint. To learn more about how commercial solar panels can help your business cut costs, visit our guide

Written by:
Max joined The Eco Experts as content manager in February 2024. He has written about sustainability issues across numerous industries, including maritime, supply chain, finance, mining and retail. He has also written for  City AM, The Morning Star and the Daily Express.
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