The energy from the sunlight knocks the electrons loose within the cells and increases the state of energy allowing the electrons to flow freely. The current created by the flow of the electrons can then be drawn on for use externally.

Christine Smith, Environment and Chemistry Team Leader at the station, said: We believe this is the first solar array on a working power station in the UK and it’s certainly a first for E.ON, which is very exciting.

We’ve been able to take advantage of the skills and expertise of all sorts of people across the E.ON business to make the project a success. And we think it’s a great way to show how new, renewable technology can be integrated with the more traditional way of generating electricity and how successful such a pairing can be.

Ray Smith, plant manager at Ratcliffe-on-Soar, said: This is one of the cleanest coal fired power stations in the UK, and, by fitting this array, it just goes to show how committed we are to improving our environmental performance even further.