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Large Scale Renewable Energy benefits district’s Zoo

Animals and visitors to Marwell Zoo are benefitting from renewable, clean energy as a result of a collaboration between the zoo and the local council. Winchester City Council has invested in a large-scale solar energy project in the Winchester district as part of its commitment to being greener faster. 

In 2021, the council installed 250 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels onto the rooftops of Marwell Zoo’s buildings, with the generated power sold to the zoo at a discounted rate per kilowatt hour.

The innovative approach to supplying renewable power in Winchester was developed after securing funding from the Enterprise M3 Clean Growth Pilot Programme. The Sustainability team at the council secured £120,000 match funding from the Local Enterprise Partnership (Enterprise M3 LEP), which made the launch and completion of this project possible.

The 250 PV panels have been installed on the rooftops of three buildings at Marwell Zoo – Wild Explorers building, Café Graze, and the Energy Centre.

The panels will last 20 years and generated 86,680 kWh per year in the first year of operation, reducing the annual carbon emissions by over 17 tonnes of CO2e per year, or 350 tonnes CO2e over the lifetime of the project. 

Cllr Kelsie Learney, Cabinet Member for Climate Emergency, said: 


“I am delighted the City Council has been able to help Marwell Zoo make a significant reduction in carbon emissions and their costs by generating renewable energy on-site.

Winchester City Council is determined to make both the Council and the district, greener, faster, this project is an excellent example of how we can work in partnership to achieve this." 


Head of Sustainability at Marwell Zoo, Dr Duncan East, said: 


“The generation of over 86,000 kWh per year is enough to power 24 average homes for a year and reduce the carbon footprint by over 17tonnes CO2e per year. 

“This will save Marwell around over £100,000 over the life of the project, money that can be better spent restoring habitats, training future conservationists and improving the welfare of animals in the zoo.”


Winchester City Council has installed 2,171 roof mounted Solar Panels across the district generating over 500,000kWh of clean solar energy annually. The panels are predominantly located on the council’s own buildings as well as BIFFA Winchester depot, Winchester Sport and Leisure Centre and Marwell Zoo.

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