Tate modernises with its own solar power system


Tate Modern will generate a portion of its electricity by solar power following the installation of a solar system on the roof of the building. The 82kWp system, to be installed next month on the Gallery’s roof, is being donated by Solarcentury, corporate partner of Tate Modern. The solar system will reduce Tate’s grid electricity demand and contribute towards the Tate’s wider sustainability agenda.

The solar system revives Tate Modern’s heritage as an energy generation site, though now with its own clean energy power station on the roof of the building. The former Bankside power station last generated electricity in 1981. Solarcentury has a very long track-record of delivering challenging and innovative urban solar solutions, so brings a wealth of engineering expertise and a highly skilled project management team for the solar project.

Judith Nesbitt, Director of National & International Programmes, Tate commented, “For Tate Modern, installing a solar PV system is another small but important step in making the gallery as sustainable and efficient as possible. Together with our plans for heat recovery and natural ventilation in the new building, we are exploring a whole range of approaches to reducing energy use.”

Tate Modern joins around 80 other London organisations – from fire stations to schools to private businesses – that Solarcentury has installed solar on over the last 17 years, including the panels on nearby Blackfriars Bridge. The solar system on the bridge started generating electricity in 2013 and meets up to 50% of the station’s energy needs every year. The visible structure in the heart of London, one of the oldest cities in the world, further establishes London as a solar city.

Frans van den Heuvel, CEO at Solarcentury comments, “Becoming a corporate partner of Tate and marking it by installing solar is a perfect opportunity for Solarcentury to bring clean energy to the art world. Electrifying this former power station with its own clean energy system also reflects the global shift currently underway towards cleaner energy sources. It’s encouraging that we’re seeing a wave of solar spreading through London as recognition grows for the benefits of solar, still the most popular clean technology among the British public."

The solar system will be installed in September, and is expected to start generating at the end of the month. Since it opened in May 2000, more than 70 million people have visited Tate Modern. It is the world’s most popular museum of modern art and one of the UK’s top visitor attractions.