Northumbrian Water has paved the way for increased renewable energy thanks to a significant solar power instillation at one of the country’s biggest environmental management sites.
The supplier’s Bran Sands water treatment plant based in Middlesbrough will now be home to one of the UK’s largest commercial rooftop mounted solar panel installations, with 943 solar panels.
The installation comes as part of the company’s ‘Power Purchase Agreement’ (PPA) with Lightsource Renewable Energy, the leading solar energy company in Europe.
Lightsource will operate, design and fund the system which will provide Northumbria Water with a straightforward solution to its power requirements, while making a carbon and energy saving equal to 24 cars being taken off the roads per year.
Bran Sands data can then be used to gauge the potential for installing more solar panels in other sites owned by Northumbrian Water.
In its first year, data shows that the instillation is on target to reach its projected savings target of £6,353, while long-term projections show that costs could be reduced by in excess of £386,000 over the course of the next 20 years.
Steve Coverdale, Plant Manager at Bran Sands, said that the installation of solar energy at the site will enable the water supplier to continue its move towards reaching parity of importing energy, with the long-term hope being that it can become an exporter of energy.
He said that Northumbrian Water are always on the lookout for methods to improve its energy efficiency and sustainability, while also caring for the environment and cutting down on costs.
He added that the results they have seen thus far have shown reason for optimism that the solar installation is having the desired effects and that the company will keep reassessing what will be achieved in order to establish the role of solar energy.
The panels were installed within two weeks so that both Lightsource and Northumbrian Water could meet the government’s deadline for reduced ‘Feed-in Tariff’ support.