Solar panels at the Inverness Water Treatment Works. Image: Scottish Water.

Scottish Water has completed another solar site, as it continues its push to reach net zero by 2040.

Its Inverness Water Treatment Works, by Loch Ashie, now has 1,300 solar panels, thanks to a £450,000 investment by the utility. The panels are expected to provide a third of the energy needed for the site, which is located just five miles south-west of the Highland Capital.

This is the third largest installation by Scottish Water Horizons, the publicly-owned water company’s commercial subsidiary created to invest in renewable technologies.

Project manager Ian Piggott said that harnessing solar energy was just one of many ways the company can tackle climate change and contribute to Scottish Water’s net zero target.

“The site at Inverness provides a perfect opportunity to install a scheme of this scale, which will have a significant positive impact both on the environmental and financial cost of providing clear, fresh and great-tasting drinking water to around 86,000 customers in the Highland Capital and beyond.

“In the years ahead, we will be seeking to develop further, larger renewable energy projects so that self-generated green power can meet all of Scottish Water’s electricity needs. In Scottish Water Horizons we intend to deliver 90GWh per annum of new renewable generation by 2030 to help Scottish Water on its journey to meeting its net zero carbon goal.”

The site is the first to include provision for charging point for electric vehicles (EVs), to help the company accelerate the rollout of the clean vehicles within the company. This formed a key part of Scottish Water’s net zero roadmap, published earlier this week (14 September). It currently has a fleet of 1,600 vehicles, and is intending to transition all of them to zero-emissions alternatives, along with committing to operating all its assets using renewable power only.

Scottish Water’s local water operations team leader Angus Mackinnon said: “It’s a great step forward that we can now generate a significant proportion of the electricity we need within the site, using renewable resources. We are really proud that our water treatment works at Loch Ashie is playing its part in helping Scottish Water achieve its net zero carbon ambitions.

“Looking to the future, the inclusion of electric vehicle charging facilities will support faster progress with moving our 1600-vehicle fleet of vans and tankers all over Scotland away from fossil fuels towards clean electricity.”

Already, Scottish Water Horizons has installed over 45 solar power projects, along with 20 wind projects, two biomass projects and one heat from waste water project.

One such project was competed at the Finmont Service Reservoir, near Lochgelly in Fife in August, with an investment of £325,000 funding the installation of the 297kW solar PV system, which is set to generate 0.25GWh annually.