The 4GWh site will be made up of ground-mount panels, similar to at Scottish Water’s Erskine treatment plant (pictured). Image: Scottish Water.

Scottish Water has announed its “most ambitious solar energy scheme to date”, with an installation planned for its Balmore Water Treatment Works in Torrance, East Dunbartonshire that is expected to generate 4GWh per year.

The £3 million investment will be done through the utility's commercial subsidiary Scottish Water Horizons, and will see 8,620 ground-mounted PV panels with a capacity of approximately 5MW installed at the energy intensive site.

The installation will offset 19% of the electricity required to operate the facility, which serves around 565,000 people across East Dunbartonshire, Glasgow, North Lanarkshire, the Falkirk and Grangemouth areas and West Lothian.

Dr Mark Williams, sustainability and climate change manager at Scottish Water, said the company had made an “ambitious commitment” to be net zero over the next two decades, and using solar power is “instrumental in helping to tackle climate change”.

“The renewable electricity that could be generated here in Torrance will go a long way towards helping Scottish Water reach both its net zero commitment, and a further goal to host or self-generate renewable power equivalent to three times our annual electricity consumption by 2030.”

Additionally at the site electric vehicles charging facilities will be installed to support the transition of the company’s 1,600 vehicle fleet of vans and tankers.

Construction of the solar PV scheme could begin towards the end of 2021, subject to ongoing discussions with East Dunbartonshire Council.

The work is expected to be completed by renewable energy solutions specialists FES Support Services, on behalf of Scottish Water Horizons.

Donald MacBrayne, business development and delivery manager at Scottish Water Horizons, said as a significant land and property owner, it makes sense for Scottish Water to “harness these assets for carbon savings and green energy generation”.

“Already we’re accelerating the pace and increasing the scale of our green schemes to help meet our ambitious net zero targets. The solar scheme at Balmore Water Treatment Works is a perfect example of how our assets can make a significant contribution to lowering our carbon footprint for the benefit of customers and the environment.”

Scottish Water has 76 water and waste water treatment works that are either self-sufficient or partly sufficient in their power requirements, as it continues to push on towards net zero by 2040.

This includes an 1,300 solar panel strong installation at its Inverness Water Treatment Works, by Loch Ashie, which it completed in August 2020.

In December last year, Scottish Water announced a new £2 million partnership with Invinity Energy Systems that will see 1MW of solar and four vanadium flow batteries installed at its Perth Waste Water Treatment Works. The expansion of its portfolio has continued into 2021, with a rooftop array on its Campbeltown Water Treatment Works unveiled in January.