A quarter of the energy required at a water treatment facility in Scotland is to be met by a new solar array after Scottish Water completed its latest renewable energy installation at the Marchbank Water Treatment Works.

The 250kW installation will provide power to the facility near Balerno, which currently produces 40 megalitres of water per day. According to Scottish Water, this means that 17,000 properties in parts of western and Southern Edinburgh and areas of West Lothian will now receive drinking water which has been treated using solar energy.

The solar project has also been installed to help Scottish Water lower its energy costs which can be passed on to consumers.

Chris Toop, general manager for Scottish Water’s energy programme, said: “Electricity, as any consumer will know, can be expensive and that’s why Scottish Water has been working to reduce the amount of energy that we need to purchase.

“Installing solar panels is therefore fantastic news for our customers. It’s one of the ways in which we can help to keep our customer charges lower than the UK average, while aspiring to deliver ever better service.

“The solar panels at Marchbank Water Treatment Works make this vital facility serving Edinburgh and West Lothian increasingly [self-sufficient]. We are confident that the installation of solar panels will enable us to continue to reduce energy consumption and ultimately keep costs low for our customers.”

This is the latest in a series of delivered by Scottish Water Horizons, a subsidiary of the public utility, which supports the development of a sustainable economy in Scotland.

Donald MacBrayne, commercial manager of Scottish Water Horizons, said: “This project is all part of our wider efforts to maximise the value of Scotland’s water resources and assets.

“Through use of technologies such as solar panels, several of our treatment works can now generate all – and in some cases more – of the energy they need to operate. This is helping to reduce our energy costs for the benefit of customers while contributing to renewable energy targets.”

Using a combination of solar, hydro and wind projects, Scottish Water says it has doubled the amount of renewable energy which can be generated at treatment works and in water mains in the last two years to over 50GWh.

“All our efforts across Scottish Water have helped to reduce base electricity consumption by over 5% in the last five years, while carbon emissions have fallen by 18% since 2006/07,” Toop added.