From the Dark Age to the solar age at Sutton Hoo

Solar panel on the roof of the Sutton Hoo visitor centre

Discover how we're harnessing the sun's energy at Sutton Hoo

The power of nature is being harnessed to bring modern technology alive at Sutton Hoo. As one of the UK’s most significant historical site this is a groundbreaking advancement in renewable energy.

What are we up to?

Dating back to the seventh century, the burial site at Sutton Hoo is being brought into the 21st century with some green energy modifications.

The first phase of the project to bring renewable energies to Sutton Hoo has seen 172 high-efficiency HIT® photovoltaic (PV) modules installed onto the roof of the modern visitor centre buildings. Thanks to funding from our corporate partner Panasonic, the new panels will generate around 42,000kWh of electricity each year – enough to supply more than 10 average UK homes.

" This project is helping us to show that even in the most historically significant locations, it is possible to move away from fossil fuels and switch to low carbon renewable energy sources without negatively impacting on the places we are caring for. "
- Dee Nunn, Project Manager

Why now?

In 2015, the National Trust announced a four-year, £30 million investment in renewable energy projects at the places we care for. Sutton Hoo is the latest place to benefit from this programme.

We're installing the solar panels on top of Sutton Hoo's Visitor Centre to help us reach the National Trust commitment to generating 50 per cent of our energy needs through renewable energy installations, while simultaneously reducing overall demand by 20 per cent through energy efficiency measures by 2020.   

How do the solar panels work?

The panels use the sun’s rays to generate electricity. This may be used at the place that they’re fitted, or it can be exported to the national grid for use elsewhere. Typical energy generation might be around 500 watts per one-metre panel.

Solar panels are starting to go up at Sutton Hoo
Solar panel on the roof of the visitor building at Sutton Hoo
Solar panels are starting to go up at Sutton Hoo

Phase two of our renewables project

For the next phase of our project, we're planning to use renewable energy technologies such as biomass to heat the buildings at Sutton Hoo.

It is expected that together these initiatives will reduce the estate’s consumption of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) by around 35,000 litres, and save around 55 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year. 

We are incredibly grateful to our partner Panasonic whose support has enabled us to make great strides in taking this historic and important site towards a place where the historic and the modern merge brilliantly.

" Once they're up they will produce enough energy from the sun to make over 100,000 cups of tea each year, allowing us to spend more on conservation and less on fuel bills. Please bear with us while we put them up."
- Luke Potter, General Manager

Why renewables?

We are dedicated to looking after special places forever for everyone. As part of this we are committed to doing our bit to limit the impacts of climate change by reducing the amount of energy we use and sourcing as much as possible of the remainder from sustainable sources. By protecting our past, we're securing our future.

Tranmer House biomass boiler at sunset

Keeping Sutton Hoo toasty 

With the installation of our Biomass Boiler into Tranmer House, we're continuing our commitment to renewable energy here at Sutton Hoo