Severn Trent Costain, a joint venture between engineering firm Costain and water supplier Severn Trent, is looking at extending the roll out of special solar-powered water meters to 1,200 Ministry of Defence (MOD) sites following a successful trial.

The small solar-powered water meters lend themselves perfectly for use in remote sites which are often located a considerable distance from a mains power source. Severn Trent Costain initially trialled the environmentally friendly meters at 20 MOD sites as part of a wider contract which sees the company provide water and wastewater services to 1,300 MOD sites across England.  

Severn Trent Costain kept a close eye on the data provided by the trail solar panel systems and found out that the system could be maintained even under adverse conditions such as extremely low light levels.  The solar panel system has also improved the continuity of measurement for leakage and consumption. Ultimately, the system allows the sites to reduce electricity consumption and cut the carbon footprint and environmental impact of the various MOD sites.

The aim is for Severn Trent Costain to use the solar-powered meters at all 1,100 MOD sites, saving the use of 7,700 conventional batteries reducing costs by around £100,000 a year. Another benefit of using PV is that the meters require fewer maintenance visits. In addition, the transmitters that have been replaced with a photovoltaic panel can be recycled as spares for other equipment.