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Solar Installation

28 September 22

Affinity Water is now using solar to reduce carbon emissions

(Image: Walton site)

It’s all systems go at Affinity Water’s two Surrey solar power arrays at its Chertsey and Walton sites which will generate up to 1.2MW (megawatt) of renewable energy from the sun to help power its operations.

The arrays took full advantage of the good weather and produced a daily average of 7,640 Kilowatt Hours (kWh)of electricity throughout June. Since April 2022 the combined arrays have generated more than 1,095 MWh of electricity, saving more than £215,000 in energy costs.

The arrays will produce less electricity as daylight hours reduce in the autumn and winter months, but they have the potential combined capacity to produce, on average, over 4,200 kWh per day over a full 12-month period. This is equivalent to the power demand of 350 4-bed detached properties in the UK.

Affinity Water worked alongside Centrica Business Solutions and UPOWA (formerly HBS New Energies), both of whom have significant experience in the installation of industrial renewable energy generation, to complete this Pilot phase. It represents the first step in their ambitious plan to be operationally net zero by 2030 (scope 1 & 2 emissions) and net zero by 2050 where they anticipate investing £29M in solar power and is key to the development of a wider renewables and energy efficiency programme.

Preparations are underway to construct more Solar arrays at a further 28 sites during Phase 2 of the project. This significant undertaking will increase Affinity Water’s capability to produce clean and renewable energy from the Sun. The aim is to increase the current 1.58MW per year combined output from Chertsey and Walton, to generate between 20-23.5 MW per year. In real terms this will deliver a reduction in our carbon footprint of between 84,000 and 95,000 tCO2e over a 20-year asset life and savings of up to £4.38M based on current electricity tariffs.

“We chose Centrica Business Solutions and UPOWA (formerly HBS New Energies) because we're new to this,” said Steve Plumb, Asset Strategy and Capital Delivery Director at Affinity Water. “We needed to partner with their supply chains and draw on their expertise to install the solar panels efficiently and safely. We plan to do a further 28 sites in phase 2 to generate 10 per cent of our electricity through solar. We also have some further large-scale proposals that we are excited about and want to develop in the future.”

Steve Plumb added: “It’s been really important for us to get buy in from the Board, who are equally committed to our sustainability objectives and can see the benefits of us doing this and want us to go faster. Together with our Walton site we are showing our commitment to achieving carbon net zero. Both sites are now live and producing clean and sustainable energy for us to use.”

(Image: Chertsey site)

Affinity Water’s Chertsey Water Treatment Works produces 45 million litres of high-quality drinking water a day to our customers. The installation of 1,820 solar panels has been producing up to 21% of the energy that is used at this site since energisation and is projected to achieve 12% as an average for the full 12 months.

Justin Jacober, Director at Centrica Business Solutions UK+I, added: “We are delighted to kickstart the solar journey for Affinity Water. One reason we love to work with water companies such as Affinity Water is that they tend to have a lot of land and they are high energy users, so solar installations really make sense from both an environmental and financial standpoint.”

Jacober added: “Given the current market volatility, there's no better time to invest in projects like this. The Chertsey site can reduce carbon emissions by up to 188 tonnes a year, helping Affinity to reduce the environmental impact of its operations and reducing its reliance on grid electricity.”

The 1216 ground-mounted solar panels installed by UPOWA at its Walton Water Treatment Works have been producing up to 18% of the site’s energy requirement compared to 2021 and are projected to achieve 11% as an average for the full 12 months.

James Bull, Managing Director at UPOWA said: “The solar installation at Walton is a great example of how water companies like Affinity Water can utilise operational land to unlock much needed cost savings and efficiencies through on-site renewable generation.

“I am thrilled to see UPOWA play a key role in completing the first phase of this exciting solar programme that will help cut Affinity Water's carbon footprint and reduce its reliance on grid-supplied electricity. We look forward to supporting them on their journey to achieving net-zero operational emissions by 2030."

The two installations combined have saved over £215,000 in electricity charges, 296 tonnes of carbon emissions since March this year which is the equivalent of driving over 1,336,000 miles in an average diesel car.

Affinity Water has also shifted to a 100% REGO (or Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin) backed renewable energy tariff, meaning that it has power purchase agreements for green energy contracted for 100% of carbon emitting electricity consumed by all its pumping stations, buildings, and sites.

Future phases will deliver further installations of solar energy, along with the introduction of wind power and battery storage solutions across its sites and the transition of its fleet to Electric Vehicles. By 2030 the company will generate 10% of its baseload energy usage from its own renewable energy generation assets, thereby reducing reliance on the National Grid.

Latest data shows:

Chertsey - Installation Contractor - Centrica

  • Energy cost savings to date, using the 22/23 Tariff = £144,961
  • Carbon savings to date (tCO2e) = 158 tCO2e
  • Energy produced since energisation= 777,690 kWh

Walton - Installation Contractor - UPOWA

  • Energy cost savings to date, using the 22/23 Tariff = £70,663
  • Carbon savings to date (tCO2e) = 76.7 tCO2e
  • Energy produced since energisation= 379,096 kWh

You can watch a video of the completion of the Walton and Chertsey sites here:

Walton

Chertsey

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