Scottish Water set to make record investment in solar

Scottish Water has pledged to spend £9 million over the next three years on a number of solar projects in the single biggest investment in the technology by the utility.

The deal has been set up by the Scottish Water Horizons division and forms part of the utility’s efforts to reduce its carbon emission while cutting energy costs.

While no figure for installed capacity has been assigned to the investment, a spokesperson for Scottish Water said all the clean energy resulting from the installations would be used to power various treatment works and assets on site, with nothing exported to the grid or another off taker.

Andrew Macdonald, head of Scottish Water Horizons, said: “This investment further demonstrates Scottish Water’s commitment to reducing energy costs and ultimately keeping bills as low as possible for customers.

“Through use of technologies such as solar panels, several of our water works can now generate at least all - and in some cases more - of the energy they need to operate. Not only does this benefit Scottish Water but it contributes to national renewable energy targets.

“We’re pleased to be working with experts in the sector to improve our provision of renewable energy and help maintain Scottish Water’s place as one of the best value providers of water in the UK.”

The utility has awarded four contractors - Absolute Solar & Wind, FES, Saliis and Styles & Wood – to develop, design and install solar panels at Scottish Water assets across the nation.

The installations are expected to be carried out within the first year of the scheme with two further one year extensions included in an effort to take advantage of further reductions in technology costs and to provide some security from the current instability in the UK solar market.

This scheme is the latest in a series of projects which have substantially increased the amount of renewable energy used by Scottish Water, with generation having doubled since 2013 to over 50GWh.

The utility currently has 26 sites with hydro turbines while generating energy from 18 wind-powered sites, 24 solar farms and two biomass plants. 

In addition, Scottish Water has reduced its base electricity consumption by more than five per cent since 2010 while total emissions have fallen by 18% since 2006/7.

Regional utilities are fast emerging as a strong area of activity in the renewables and energy efficiency space, adopting a range of varying measures. Welsh Water recently agreed toprovide 5MW of demand response services to Open Energi to help manage the peaks and troughs of energy supply and demand nationwide.

Mike Pedley, head of energy at Welsh Water, will be speaking at Clean Energy Live, taking place next week on 4-6 October at Birmingham's NEC, and offering advice on corporate energy management.