SOUTHEND Airport’s green credentials have been boosted with hundreds of new solar panels on its new terminal building.

The installation is part of the £10million terminal extension that opened to the public last month, providing more check-in desks, a larger departure lounge and a greater choice of shops for passengers.

The 496 solar panels will supply the airport with clean solar electricity for decades through its private electricity network.

David Lister, airport operations director, said: “We are delighted to add the provision of clean solar electricity to a range of ‘green’ initiatives we’ve introduced as the terminal has developed.

“Environmentally friendly initiatives are very important to us and the whole building has been designed to incorporate a number of them, including sustainable drainage, specialist coating to improve insulation, extensive glazing to enhance natural lighting and slow start escalators.”

The panels, supplied by Conergy and installed by Photon Energy on the terminal’s curved roofs, are expected to reduce the airport’s carbon dioxide emissions by around 1,000 tonnes over the next 20 years.

Jonathan Bates, Photon Energy managing director, said: “Solar is Britain’s favourite renewable energy and it’s great Southend Airport has shown its commitment to self-generation.

“You can’t necessarily see the panels from the ground, but millions of people will get a bird’s eye view of them as they take off or come in to land.

“Airport terminals are great places for solar panels as they have a lot of roof space and large daytime electricity consumption.”

The Stobart Group has ploughed more than £120million into the development of the airport since buying it in 2008.