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Ports Employ Solar Power in Efforts to Improve Environment

port solar energy
Portsmouth created solar canopies that shade cars and collect solar entery stored in batteries (Portsmouth City Council)

Published Aug 18, 2022 8:38 PM by The Maritime Executive

Ports are increasingly becoming involved in alternative energy looking to use their facilities to contribute to reducing emissions. While much of the attention is on alternative fuels and wind energy, a number of projects are also looking to use of one the first alternative energy sources, solar power, in the future of the ports.

Corpus Christi, Texas

The Port of Corpus Christi in Texas is launching a new partnership to use available land at the port to potentially become the location for a large solar farm. The Port Commission approved a lease agreement with Buckeye Partners that will establish the first solar farm in the 100-year history of the port. 

The 81,000+ panel project will be located in San Patricio County on Port of Corpus Christi property near Midway Junction. The lease agreement provides Buckeye with a two-year development term to evaluate the feasibility of constructing the solar farm project on 136.69 acres of port-owned property. North of the proposed lease premises are 112 acres, owned by Buckeye, yielding a combined acreage of 248 acres available to construct the farm, which will have the capacity to produce 88,000 MWh of electricity per year.

“This lease agreement reinforces our commitment not only to embrace renewable energy developments but to solidify the port as a thought leader in the global energy marketplace, with the support of our partners at Buckeye,” said Sean Strawbridge, Chief Executive Officer for the Port of Corpus Christi. “We are excited and appreciative of our partnership with Buckeye in this new solar farm endeavor, which marks the expansion into a new chapter for the Port of Corpus Christi and our history.”

UK Initiative

Similarly, the Portsmouth International Port has become the UK's first to use solar canopies as a source of energy for port operations. The project began in February and incorporates roof-mounted solar panels across several buildings, a large battery, and solar canopies across Portsmouth International Port.

The power produced by the 2,660 solar panels will contribute around 35 percent of the site’s power, which will be stored in a mega-watt sized battery. When completed, the 1.2-megawatt peak system will be the largest solar and battery installation to date across the area portfolio of renewable generation systems. As well as generating carbon-free power, the solar canopies will provide shade for cars waiting to board ferries, allowing them to stay cooler for longer without having to run their engines.

When fully operational, the system will reduce annual carbon emissions by 239 tonnes, according to Portsmouth City Council cabinet member for climate change and environment, Councilor Kimberly Barrett.