The London stadium is set to cover its roof with solar panels in a bid to help it “go green” and generate its own power.
Plans have been revealed to wrap the venue, home to West Ham United, in a multi-million-pound solar membrane to reduce carbon emissions and harness the sun’s rays.
The plan is being spearheaded by the stadium’s owners, the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), a body set up after the 2012 Games to oversee the ongoing regeneration of the area around Olympic Park.
The latest LLDC budget document estimates the project could cost around £4m over two years, but would more than pay for itself after just five years, thanks to an estimated generation of roughly three million kilowatts of power each year.
It adds that work on the scheme could start in “mid-2023”, with power potentially starting to be generated before the end of the next fiscal year in April 2024.
A contract for the project facility was put out to bid in December, and the contract description states that the “high-profile building offers a fantastic opportunity to showcase state-of-the-art technology.”
It adds: “The key driver of the project is to significantly reduce carbon emissions, in line with the commitment to reach a ‘net zero’ carbon position by 2030.”
The idea won praise from London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who said: “I always support innovation in our city, I always support (people in) our city to pioneer problems. London is the sporting capital of the world.
“Let’s wait and see how these ideas play out, but I’m very happy to see West Ham win at last.”
Stuart Dossett, Senior Policy Adviser at the Green Alliance environmental think tank, said: “It’s fantastic to see such an iconic building, the scene of such national pride, leading us towards a greener future.
“Solar power can be built quickly to produce cheap, clean energy to power our buildings. The sooner we expand the use of renewable energy, the sooner we can drastically reduce bills and carbon emissions.”
The Council agreed to contribute £45,000 towards a feasibility study and a business case for the project. The exact components of the membrane will be decided in the feasibility study, but one solution could involve using a sheet-like material, with photovoltaic panels embedded inside.
A London Stadium spokeswoman said: “The provision of power via solar power or similar technology has been explored before, but was not possible with the technology available at the time. Recent developments suggest that previous barriers, which included the required weight load on the roof, can now be addressed.
“The purpose of the feasibility study is to explore this and quantify the achievable cost and benefits. The outcome of this will determine how self-sufficient the stadium could become in the future.”