Innovative ‘dual-sided’ solar scheme at Aberdeenshire treatment site

01 June 2022

Scottish Water Horizons installs innovative solar PV scheme to drive down emissions.

Over 1,800 solar PV panels, comprising double-sided ‘bifacial’ and standard modules, are now powering Fraserburgh’s waste water treatment works in Aberdeenshire. 

The technology will offset around 30% of the electricity needed to operate the facility. It will also generate over 0.76GWhr of energy each year – the same amount of energy needed to boil 1.8 million kettles.

The new installation is a result of a £985,000 investment by Scottish Water Horizons, the company’s largest renewable project in the North East to date.

Partial underside view of ground-mounted solar panels
Bifacial solar PV panels at Fraserburgh treatment works

Roddy Speirs, Scottish Water Horizons Project Manager, said:

“Despite the challenges of our geographic location, Scotland has a tremendous amount of solar power opportunity.

“Most solar PV arrays are single-sided meaning that only the front panels generate energy.  Bifacial modules generate energy from both sides, significantly increasing energy generation potential.

“We also installed sophisticated metering equipment to enable accurate measurements. If the panels perform as hoped, it will be an exciting step forward in the decarbonisation of Scottish Water’s assets.”

How bifacial solar panels work

Bifacial panels work by generating electricity when sunlight strikes either side of the panel.  Most electricity is generated when light hits the top of the panel. However any light that bounces off the ground and hits the back of the panel generates electricity too.

The scheme will cut the site’s carbon footprint by 177 tonnes of CO2 each year – the equivalent of offsetting around 580,000 miles from an average car.

Electric vehicle charging points were also installed to support the move of Scottish Water’s fleet of vans away from fossil fuels.

Graphical representation of how bifacial solar panels work

Green energy collaboration

Fraserburgh treatment works are managed by Grampian Water Services who worked with Horizons to deliver this project. 

Grampian Water Services General Manager, Simon Wrigglesworth, said: “It is fantastic to see such innovation at our Fraserburgh site.  We are constantly looking at new ways to reduce our carbon footprint and increase green energy generation. 

“This is the third project we’ve completed with Horizons this year to reduce emissions and costs to both us and our customers. It’s yet another exciting development in our journey towards Scottish Water’s ambition to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040.”

Renewable energy experts Absolute Solar and Wind delivered the onsite solar scheme earlier this year whilst adhering to Covid guidance.

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