‘Its official. Its a THING!’ Nuable
United Utilities is set to install 12,000 solar PV panels on a reservoir in Greater Manchester as part of a £3.5 million project to “keep energy costs and water customers’ bills low”.
The 45,500m3 array on the Godley Reservoir in Hyde will be the second biggest floating solar farm in the world and will dwarf the UK’s current biggest project, an 800-panel floating farm in Berkshire that was built in 2014.
The £3.5 million installation, which is expected to be complete by the end of the year, will generate 2.7GWh of electricity a year, providing a third of United Utilities’ power demand for the water treatment works on the site.
Floating solar farms are advantageous to water companies because they provide an onsite power source without impacting on land use. By covering the surface area of reservoirs, solar arrays can also reduce water evaporation, while the cooling effect of the water can improve the efficiency of the solar cells.
Chris Stubbs, head of renewable energy at United Utilities, said: “We have a target to generate 35 per cent of our power requirements by 2020 and this project will make a significant contribution to that aim.
“While floating solar has been deployed elsewhere around the world, most notably in Japan, it is a new technology to the UK. Installations such as the Godley solar scheme will help us keep energy costs and water customers’ bills low.”