Water utility Anglian Water has completed solar farms at five of its sites across the UK, significantly boosting on-site generation.
The firm has elected to construct ground-mount solar farms on land adjacent to its facilities in Witham, Whilton, Bedford, Lincoln and Rayleigh which will together generate around 1.8 million kWh of energy each year, equivalent to the demand of around 500 homes.
Matt Pluke, energy manager at Anglian Water, said the company intended for the solar installs to build on the success it had recorded by installing combine heat and power (CHP) engines at water recycling centres.
“The next step was to identify a number of energy-intensive sites where we can create clean energy from solar panels. By using this space, which would otherwise stand empty, we will be getting the best value out of the land we own, whilst reducing our carbon footprint.
“This is very exciting news for us. This is yet another way we can reduce our energy costs and reduce our impact on the climate,” he said.
Anglian Water has been particularly active on the energy management front over the course of the last five years. More than 1,000 projects have been delivered, saving the utility more than £16 million.
“We’re one of the biggest energy users here in the East of England – we need huge amounts of power to treat and recycle water, and pump it around such a geographically flat area – so we have an obligation to reduce our impact on the climate wherever we can,” Pluke added.
In particular Anglian Water has installed solar on around 1.5 acres Witham Water Recycling Centre in Chelmsford. The project is expected to generate around 250,000kWh of energy per annum, contributing nearly one fifth of the site’s total electricity demand.
However the largest development, which will see a 4.6 acre solar farm erected at the Bedford Water Recycling Centre, is to generate more than 750,000kWh of energy, equivalent to around 10% of the site’s total energy demand.