Major milestone for solar power

15 September 2021

Scottish Water Horizons has completed work on a milestone £2 million solar power scheme as part of a drive to reach net zero emissions by 2040.

The scheme is the company’s largest single solar energy investment to date and is the first to include battery storage facilities in its design, which will enable around 94% of the renewable power generated to be used on site.

More than 2,500 solar panels are now installed on land adjoining Perth’s Waste Water Treatment Works at Sleepless Inch on the River Tay, with a combined generating capacity of just over 1 Megawatt (MW).

Its Horizons’ 50th solar installation to date with the green energy generated expected to provide around a quarter of the electricity needed to treat water that has been used by customers all over the city.

Lighting up the route to Net Zero

The battery storage technology will be installed later this year – allowing energy to be produced when the sun is at its peak and then delivered to site when it is most needed, any time of day or night. This will help to cut the carbon footprint of the works by around 160 tonnes of CO2 per annum – the equivalent of offsetting 580,000 miles from the average passenger car.

Managing Director of Scottish Water Horizons, Paul Kerr, said:

“This is an exciting milestone in our journey towards Scottish Water’s ambition to achieve net zero emissions by 2040 and it’s fantastic to see how innovation is constantly increasing the amount of energy we can generate at our sites.

“The waste water treatment works in Perth is a key site for Scottish Water, serving customers across the city, but it uses a lot of energy in serving its vital purpose. Being able to maximise the renewable energy we are now generating by storing via battery technology will be an important boost to the value of our investment – ultimately reducing energy costs at the site by around 40% on an ongoing basis.

Aerial view of the solar PV scheme at Perth

“This year we have assessed over 450 sites for their suitability to host renewable generation and this will form a major part of how we cut our emissions in the coming years, alongside a range of other measures.”

In addition to the new solar photovoltaic panels, the project included the installation of the utility’s first rapid electric vehicle charging facilities to support the transition of the company’s 1,600-vehicle fleet of vans and tankers away from fossil fuels towards clean electricity. The site is located close to the M90, at a key hub of the transport network.

The Perth site joins a portfolio of almost 80 water and waste water treatment works which are now either self-sufficient or partly sufficient in generating their own power requirements.

Renewable energy experts Absolute Solar and Wind delivered the project whilst adhering to ongoing Covid guidance.

Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport Michael Matheson said:

This project marks a real turning point in how renewable energy is placed at the heart of powering Scotland’s essential services

Michael Mathieson, Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport

“This is a very welcome project from Scottish Water and marks a real turning point in how renewable energy is incorporated into sites and placed at the heart of powering Scotland’s essential services. At the same time, it can be a part of Perth’s bold ambition to become the most sustainable small city in Europe.

The Scottish Government is committed to ending Scotland’s contribution to climate change by 2045 and it is innovative schemes like this which will help us reach that target, as well as creating green jobs and contributing to a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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