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Solar power at Bran Sands to save £6K-plus in first year

Northumbrian Water has announced that a significant installation of solar power at one of the largest environmental management sites in the North-east could pave the way for greater use of renewable energy across the region.

Steve CoverdaleSteve Coverdale

Northumbrian Water has announced that a significant installation of solar power at one of the largest environmental management sites in the North-east could pave the way for greater use of renewable energy across the region.

The 943 solar panel array at the company’s Bran Sands wastewater treatment plant in Middlesbrough is believed to be one of the biggest commercial rooftop mounted installations in the region. It has been installed as part of a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Europe’s leading solar energy company Lightsource Renewable Energy. 

The system, fully funded, designed, and operated by Lightsource, provides a simple solution for Northumbrian Water’s power needs whilst creating significant energy and carbon savings, equal to taking 24 cars off the road per year. Data from Bran Sands will be used to assess the potential for further installations across Northumbrian Water sites.

Initial data has shown that the scheme is on course to meet the projected savings of £6,353 in the first year of installation, with total cost reductions of more than £386,000 projected over 20 years. 

Steve Coverdale, Bran Sands plant manager, said: “By installing solar energy at Bran Sands, we can continue to move from being a net importer of energy to parity or even one day a slight exporter. The panels will provide performance data that is specific to our region that will help to evaluate the value of further roll-out across our North-east estate.

“At Northumbrian Water, we are constantly looking at ways to make our operations more energy efficient and sustainable, reducing costs at the same time as protecting the environment. The results so far have been positive at Bran Sands, and we will continue monitoring what can be achieved to determine the position of solar energy in the company’s ongoing energy mix.”

The installation is the latest phase in Northumbrian Water’s strategy to make Bran Sands, which provides wastewater treatment for approximately 300,000 customers including major multi-national companies on Teesside, self-sufficient in energy.

The availability of roof space big enough to accommodate the 250kWp peak capacity system, capable of significantly reducing CO2 emissions and energy bills, created the opportunity to not only achieve this onsite, but to assess the effective power of solar energy in the North-east’s climate.

Installation of the panels was completed and connected inside a fortnight, allowing Northumbrian Water and Lightsource to beat the deadline for the government’s reduction in Feed-in Tariff (FIT) support. The FIT scheme is designed by UK government to encourage uptake of a range of renewable and low-carbon electricity generation technologies. 

Author: Maureen Gaines, Editor, WET News Find on Google+
Topic: Energy/Water Nexus , Sustainability & social value
Tags: Northumbrian Water , solar power , wastewater treatment

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