Solar Giant Switched on in
26 April 2023
A solar scheme of seismic proportions is now live at Scottish Water’s most energy intensive site.
The £5million scheme, led by Scottish Water Horizons, has seen 8,448 solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels installed at Balmore Water Treatment Works in East Dunbartonshire.
It is by far the largest solar scheme in Scottish Water’s portfolio to date.
Nineteen per cent of the electricity needed to operate the facility will now be offset through green technology, achieving colossal savings of 1,100 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per annum.
Outgoing chief executive of Scottish Water, Douglas Millican, has spent many of his 20 years’ service driving the organisation’s net zero journey. During his time, he committed Scottish Water to achieving net zero emissions by 2040.
He said: “This PV scheme at Balmore Treatment Works near Torrance is a prime example of how we can use Scottish Water assets to adapt, invest, and innovate, to support a flourishing Scotland. It is a hugely important milestone for us in our net zero journey.
“All of Scottish Water’s activities are energy-intensive and drive emissions which is why investing in renewable power technologies is embedded in our Net Zero Routemap. We must continue to grow new capabilities and change our behaviour to eliminate all emissions associated with our activities – while delivering excellent service and great value to our customers.”
Leading the way to net zero emissions by 2040
The ambitious project has been in planning and development for years. After around eight months of construction, project manager Brian James is proud to see it come to fruition.
He said: “This is a monumental achievement for Scottish Water and Scottish Water Horizons. Generating 4.45 GWh of energy a year– enough to power around 1,500 standard UK homes – will make great strides in helping lead our industry to net zero emissions by 2040 and beyond.”
“This PV scheme at Balmore Treatment Works near Torrance is a prime example of how we can use Scottish Water assets to adapt, invest, and innovate, to support a flourishing Scotland. It is a hugely important milestone for us in our net zero journey.Douglas Millican, Scottish Water Chief Executive
Balmore serves around 565,000 people with great-tasting Scottish water. 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.
Three electric vehicle charging facilities were also installed at the facility to support the transition of Scottish Water’s fleet of vans and tankers to clean electricity.
Local renewable energy specialists FES Support Services Ltd delivered the super solar scheme on behalf of Scottish Water Horizons.
Celebrating 15 years of solar energy
Scottish Water Horizons also celebrates its 15th anniversary this month. Managing director, Paul Kerr, views the Balmore PV sheme as one of the company’s biggest successes.
He said: “When formed in 2008, we were expected to achieve big things; our very purpose was to harness the potential from Scottish Water assets, using innovation, knowledge and industry-leading expertise to help customers, our environment and our economy thrive.
“The scheme at Balmore encapsulates all of this. It is the largest PV scheme we have ever delivered for Scottish Water and contributes massively towards achieving net zero emissions, delivering service excellence and creating greener communities.”
Balmore joins a long list of PV schemes already up and running at many Scottish Water assets across Scotland. To date, 21 MW of solar PV power has been installed at 62 sites, generating 17.2 GWh of renewable energy every year.