Arsenal leads charge into battery power at Emirates Stadium

Arsenal has become the UK’s first football club to install large-scale battery energy storage, in a bid to cut electricity costs and support green energy.

Tucked in the basement of the Emirates, the system is capable of powering the 60,000-seat stadium for an entire match, or the equivalent of 2,700 homes for two hours.

The Gunners’ home is one of the biggest stadiums in the UK, with energy demand coming from refrigeration, full-time offices and growing lights to maintain the grass on the pitch. Consumption spikes on match days but not as much as in the past because of energy-efficient LED floodlights.

While other UK football clubs have installed solar panels and similar green measures, Arsenal is believed to be the first with large-scale storage.

Matt Allen, the chief executive of energy firm Pivot Power, which installed the batteries, said: “Arsenal is showing how football clubs and other big power users can save money and support the UK’s climate change and clean air targets.”

The system is not designed to stop the need for diesel generators for back-up power.

Instead, it will be used to buy power from the renewable electricity supplier Octopus Energy at cheap times and sell it during more expensive peak periods, and earn money by providing services to National Grid.

The financial model is akin to the rent-your-roof model pushed by solar firms, with the batteries paid for by the investment manager Downing, operated by Pivot Power and Arsenal leasing out the space, and the three sharing the cost savings and revenues.

An initial 2MW of capacity will be expanded to a total of 3MW next summer.

Allen said he would like to bring storage to more football clubs, but his “laser-like” focus was to establish a nationwide network of “superhubs”, with much larger, 50MW grid-scale batteries capable of recharging about 100 electric cars at a time. The first two, in Southampton and Carlisle, are expected to be built by October next year.