Home » Solar farm of ‘seismic proportions’ switched on in Scotland

Solar farm of ‘seismic proportions’ switched on in Scotland

by Liam Turner
Scottish Water's solar farm in Balmore

A solar scheme of “seismic proportions” is now operational at Balmore in Scotland, following the completion of a £5m scheme led by Scottish Water Horizons.

The solar farm comprises 8,448 ground-mounted solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels installed at Scottish Water’s Balmore Water Treatment Works in East Dunbartonshire.

The farm, which took around eight months to build, is the largest such scheme in Scottish Water’s portfolio.

Scottish Water says 19% of the electricity needed to operate the facility will now be offset through green technology, achieving savings of around 1,100 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per annum.

Scottish Water has committed to achieving net-zero by 2040. 

‘Monumental achievement’

Outgoing CEO Douglas Millican said: “This PV scheme in Balmore is a prime example of how we can use existing Scottish Water assets to adapt, invest, and innovate, in order 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.”

Project manager Brian James said: “This is a monumental achievement for Scottish Water and Scottish Water Horizons.

“Generating 4.45GWh of energy a year – enough to power around 1,500 standard UK homes – it will make great strides in helping to lead our industry to net-zero emissions by 2040 and beyond.”

Balmore is Scottish Water’s largest treatment plant, serving 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.

Three electric vehicle charging facilities have also been installed at the facility in a bid to support the transition of Scottish Water’s 1,600-vehicle fleet of vans and tankers from fossil fuels to clean electricity. 

Managing director Paul Kerr said: “When Scottish Water Horizons was formed in April 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.”

Balmore joins a number of other PV schemes already up and running at Scottish Water assets across Scotland.

To date, 21MW of PV power has been installed at 62 sites, which Scottish Water says generates 17.2GWh of renewable energy per year.

Main image: Scottish Water’s solar farm in Balmore. Credit: Scottish Water

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