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65% of the University of Manchester’s electricity needs are met by solar power

University of Manchester

The University of Manchester has teamed up with UK clean energy company Enviromena in a partnership that will supply up to 65% of the university’s electricity needs through a new solar project.

The university will purchase electricity generated by Enviromena’s new solar farm in Medebridge, Essex. Once completed, the Medebridge solar farm will feature 104,000 panels spread across 175 acres. Construction began in April this year, with the project expected to be energized in the latter half of 2025.

The solar farm will also achieve a biodiversity net gain by enhancing existing hedgerows and planting a native grassland and wildflower meadow beneath and around the solar arrays.

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Under the Corporate Power Purchase Agreement (CPPA), the university is committed to buying 80% of Medebridge’s total annual generation capacity—approximately 58 GWh—over the next decade.

Lee Barlow, finance and administration manager and project lead at the University of Manchester, stated: “After nearly three years of rigorous procurement and negotiations, we are proud to announce this landmark agreement, which reinforces our commitment to sustainability while delivering the best value to our students and stakeholders in the form of price certainty and supply stability.

The University of Manchester has ambitious goals to reduce its environmental impact and ceased investments in coal, oil, and gas in 2022.

Dr. Julian Skyrme, director of social responsibility at the University of Manchester, added: “As consumers, many of us may have ‘green’ or renewable energy tariffs. These are important, but they don’t add ‘additional’ renewable power to the grid in the same way as a power purchase agreement. By signing a PPA, we’re supporting not only a greener University of Manchester but also a greener energy grid across the UK.”

Enviromena, which currently manages over 300MW of renewable projects, is also developing a 3GW+ pipeline of renewable energy projects in the UK and Italy to decarbonize electricity networks and support the global drive towards net zero.

Chris Marsh, CEO of Enviromena, said: “We’re delighted to partner with the University to support their zero carbon ambitions. In addition to reducing the University’s carbon emissions over the next 10 years, the site itself will benefit the local habitat throughout its useful life until mid-2060.”


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