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The largest airport PV array in the UK has been installed at London Southend Airport as part of a £10 million (US$16.6 million) terminal expansion organized by Kier Construction.

The project, consisting of 496 rooftop panels, will be used to power shops and restaurants located in the terminal through the airport’s private electricity network.

The PV project was installed by Reading-based Photon Energy, which added panels supplied by Conergy to the airport’s curved tunnel-shaped roofs.

The project is expected to help the terminal receive a BRE Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) “Very Good” rating while also reducing carbon dioxide emissions by around 1,000 tonnes over the next 20 years.

Robert Goss managing director of Conergy UK & Ireland said: “The recent flooding and heavy rain are a reminder of why the buildings we put up today should consider the climate of tomorrow and produce as much zero-carbon energy as possible.

"The British solar industry can easily turn otherwise unused rooftops into mini-power stations, reducing demand on the grid and the need to import and burn coal or gas," he added.