Northern Ireland (NI) Water has confirmed that it is to roll out a new programme of rooftop solar installations in an effort to triple its use of self-generated renewable energy.

The government-owned water company has awarded a contract worth up to £1.5 million to Lisburn-based renewables firm Solamatix, which will deliver a range of services culminating in the installation of several small scale roof-mounted solar PV arrays.

The work will take place between now and March 2017, with the supplier claiming the overall investment will be decided by changes to renewable incentives over the contract period. However, it is hoped that at least £500,000 will be spent on solar installations.

The roll-out programme is in support of NI Water’s Price Control 2015 Energy Strategy, which aims to increase use of self-generated renewable electricity from less than 3GWh to around 9GWh. Solar has been identified as one of the technologies being used to reach this goal, with NI Water unable to comment on further measures or spending plans.

NI Water has become the latest water supplier to incorporate solar after Thames Water began construction on Europe’s largest floating solar PV array last month.