Super solar scheme aimed at tackling climate change is underway in East Dunbartonshire

Scottish Water’s most ambitious solar energy scheme to date is now under construction at the utility giant’s largest energy intensive asset.

The £5m investment by Scottish Water Horizons, the utility’s commercial subsidiary, will see 8,448 ground-mounted solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels installed at Balmore Water Treatment Works in Torrance, to the north of Glasgow.

Balmore is one of the largest treatment plants in Scottish Water’s portfolio and serves around 565,000 people. It has the ability to treat water from Loch Katrine and Loch Lomond for supply to parts of East Dunbartonshire, Glasgow, North Lanarkshire, the Falkirk and Grangemouth areas, and West Lothian.

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The green technology being installed there will offset 19 per cent of the electricity required to operate the facility, with the new solar PV scheme generating 4.4 GWh of energy per annum – equivalent to enough energy to power around 1,157 standard UK homes. It will also result in carbon reductions, saving around 1,100 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent each year.

The solar array at Balmore will be similar to this scheme at Erskine on the banks of the Clyde in Renfrewshire

Donald MacBrayne, Business Development and Delivery Manager at Scottish Water Horizons, said: “The fact that Scottish Water owns such a significant land and property portfolio means it makes great sense for us to harness these assets to generate green energy.

“In addition to the thousands of PV panels, we’re installing electric vehicle charging facilities at the site to support the transition of the organisation’s 1,500-vehicle fleet of vans and tankers from fossil fuels to clean electricity.

"This solar scheme at Balmore Water Treatment Works is a perfect example of how we can develop existing assets to make a significant contribution to lowering our carbon footprint for the benefit of customers and the environment.”

Dr Mark Williams, Sustainability and Climate Change Manager at Scottish Water, has welcomed the commencement of work on the Balmore site.

The water treatment plant at Balmore will be powered by a solar array

He said: “Capturing and using solar power is instrumental in tackling climate change and reducing the carbon footprint of our operations. The process of treating water is extremely energy intensive. Once fully operational, this scheme will make a huge contribution towards helping Scottish Water reach its commitment of becoming a net zero greenhouse gas emissions water company over the next two decades.

“The renewable electricity generated at this site in Torrance will also help us achieve our goal to host or self-generate renewable power equivalent to three times our annual electricity consumption by 2030.”

The scheme will be a major boost to Scottish Water’s portfolio of more than 76 water and waste water treatment works which are now either self-sufficient or partly sufficient in their power requirements.

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Local renewable energy solutions specialists FES Group are delivering the scheme on behalf of Scottish Water Horizons.

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