Water utility Severn Trent is to invest £190 million in its renewable energy generation practices over the next five years, with solar set to be a principal focus.

Severn Trent made the announcement at its capital markets day today and set itself the target of generating half of its gross energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020, with the aim of providing a “long-term hedge against volatile market prices”.

It hopes to derive 14% of this from solar PV by 2020 and the company is aiming to install solar arrays on more of its facilities in the Midlands, adding to the panels it already has installed at its Coventry headquarters.

A dedicated management team for renewable energy is to be established and the utility also added that it intended to build upon the £16 million revenues it generated from renewable energy in its 2013/14 financial year, £13.3 million of which came from intercompany sales.

The utility currently generates 28% of its 900MWh energy demand from renewable sources and the utility is targeting “low double-digit returns” from its initial investment.

Severn Trent disclosed that the majority – 53% – of its energy consumption was associated with its water pumping and treatment operations.

Last week Yorkshire Water announced that it intended to power two of its water treatment facilities with ground-mounted solar arrays as part of a larger programme of renewable energy projects it is currently pursuing.