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HBS New Energies power United Utilities operations with solar electricity following the success of a 250kWp ground mounted PV installation at their Forest Farm Water Treatment Works. 

In 2017 following a comprehensive tender process, United Utilities awarded HBS New Energies with a contract to design, supply and install a ground mounted solar array at their Forest Farm Water Treatment Works (WTW) with a peak power requirement of 250kWp. The low carbon solar project was directly invested in by United Utilities investment arm, UURE.

With energy being one of United Utilities largest operational costs, increasing their on-site renewable energy capacity was the perfect strategy to protect against a volatile energy market and enable the switch to a sustainable source of low-cost electricity to help power their operations.

Summary of solar PV services

  • Under the contract, HBS New Energies managed all stages of this ground mounted solar project. From feasibility, design and supply through to construction, installation and system commissioning.
  • With the site proposed comprising of land directly above an operational concrete covered reservoir, piling into the ground to enable installation of steel frames was not possibleThis led the design team to propose a low level, ground mounted solar array using a bespoke ballasted framework solution. The solar array would be connected directly to the Forest Farm Water Treatment Works by an underground cable which would connect straight into the existing electrical switchboard located within the sites pump house building. 
  • We identified a parcel of land that could accommodate the solar array and achieve the renewable generation requirements, however the limited space available meant a south facing array wasn’t possible. To overcome this challenge, we engineered a concentrated east / west facing system, a best fit, best value solution that ensured a better power curve, less export and more usable power for the facility in the morning and afternoon periods.
  • Following client approval, HBS commenced on site, completing all necessary ground works to prepare the land for the installation of the mounting kit, ballast and modules. HBS electricians then completed all wiring, system energisation and commissioning. 
  • The facility was short of wall or enclosure space for mounting inverters. We overcome this challenge through the design and build of a bespoke inverter enclosure, which included steps, hand rails and an open service area to ensure ease of access for O&M services.
  • We provided a comprehensive handover to the client. This included a site-specific H&S file, bespoke O&M manual and a full demonstration of the PV system in operation at the facility.
  • By unlocking the value of otherwise unused land, HBS New Energies has enabled United Utilities to meet over 25% of the facilities energy consumption through a reliable and cost effective on-site renewable energy source. 
  • The 250 kWp ground mounted solar PV system is expected to generate up to 185,577 kWh of solar electricity and save approximately 96.3 tonnes of Co2 per year. This solar project has positively impacted United Utilities reliance on grid supplied electricity and will help them take control of operational costs at the Forest Farm Water Treatment Works for the next 25+ years. 


    Location Forest Farm WTW   
    Total scheme size 250 kWp    
    Total annual output  185,577 kWh    
    Total annual CO2 savings  96.3 t    

UURE have been impressed with HBS New Energies and their delivery of the solar project at Forest Farm. The solar array was completed to a high standard, on time and to budget.

Gregor Hogarth, Operations & Commercial Manager, United Utilities Renewable Energy


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