Hundreds of solar panels at HMP Wayland, Norfolk, are leading the way in slashing carbon emissions and electricity costs across the prison estate, in a move that will eventually save prisons up to £800,000 a year and generate 20% of each prisons electricity.
Image courtesy Ministry of Justice / Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service
The jail in Norfolk - a Category C prison for males with over 900 places - is the first in England and Wales to be fitted with ground mounted panels as part of the government’s ambitious drive to make prisons greener.
HMP Wayland is projected to save the equivalent annual CO2 emissions of 16 average UK homes while reducing its energy costs by £52,000 per year.
Installing solar panels and maintaining the site, also teaches prisoners key new skills - vital in boosting offenders’ prospects and helping them find jobs on release.
Prisons Minister, Victoria Atkins, said: "I am delighted to see HMP Wayland become the first prison to reap the benefits of solar panels as part of our ambition to make significant savings for both the environment and the public purse.
"The initiative is part of the wider government action to build back greener, with more than £4 billion to construct sustainable prisons, and help achieve our commitment to reach net zero by 2050."
Today’s news is part of an unprecedented rollout of green technology across the estate. In August, the government announced plans to install 16,000 solar panels at 19 prisons across England this year – cutting more than 1,300 tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere and providing 20 per cent of each prison’s electricity.
The rollout of the solar panels scheme reinforces the department’s commitment to make prisoners greener. The four new prisons this government is building, will also operate as zero-carbon in the future, with an all-electric design, solar panels, heat pumps and more efficient lighting systems to reduce energy demand significantly.
The 18 prisons earmarked for panels are HMPs Bullingdon, Erlestoke, Eastwood Park, Ford, Guys Marsh, Haverigg, Hollesley Bay, Leyhill, Littlehey, New Hall, Onley, Parkhurst, Stocken, Werrington, Whatton, Whitemoor, Bure, and Full Sutton.