The City of London financial district has signed a deal to secure the bulk of its electricity from a new French-built solar farm, part of its goal for net-zero carbon emissions by 2040, officials said Wednesday.
French renewables firm Voltalia will set up a dedicated 95 000-panel site in Dorset, in the southwest, whose entire output will power the City's banks and brokerages for 15 years, in a deal worth £40 million ($53 million).
City Corporation, the district's municipal governing body, said the 50 megawatts produced - enough to light 15 000 homes - will provide more than half its electricity needs, including for its Guildhall headquarters and the Barbican arts centre.
Both parties said it was the first solar deal in Britain between a renewable energy producer and a governing authority, instead of accords with firms owned by local councils.
"This is a pioneering scheme which we hope will lead the way for local authorities across the UK," City Corp executive Jamie Ingham Clark said in a statement.
"It means they can play their part in reducing emissions without the risks of owning their own energy firms or infrastructure and without the need for government funding," he said.
City Corporation said it stands to save three million pounds a year under the deal.
The new Voltalia plant is one of its biggest in Britain to date - it said it currently operates 22 solar farms in the country, for a combined capacity of 193 megawatts.