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HBS start construction of largest solar array in UK water industry

HBS New Energies has commenced construction of a 11.6MW solar array at Grafham Water in Cambridgeshire, further boosting Anglian Water’s onsite renewable energy portfolio.

It’s the latest project to be delivered as part of an ongoing solar programme and forms a key milestone on the renewable energy framework that began in 2018. Fully funded through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), the solar PV system will become the water company’s biggest to date.

Grafham Water Treatment Works (WTW) uses approximately 45 million kilowatt hours of energy a year to supply clean water to hundreds of thousands of customers. In total nearly 42,000 solar panels will be installed by HBS on operational land owned by Anglian Water to help power Grafham WTW through a private wire connection.

The zero-carbon electricity generated will meet over 26% of the operational site’s energy consumption, cutting Anglian Water’s carbon emissions by around 3,500 tonnes in the first year.

Acting as solar developer on the project, HBS worked closely with Anglian Water and their supply chain to achieve consent through permitted development. HBS also contributed significantly to the DNO connection application and undertook the electrical design for the 11.6MW PV system.

By working in collaboration with our client and partners we’ve overcome many hurdles and challenges to get to this point. As principal contractor, HBS will manage the complete construction process to deliver the largest solar array connected to any UK water company.

James Bull, Managing Director at HBS New Energies, said

” I’m proud of our team’s effort on this project after a year in development. Backed by our vast experience in the water utility industry and innovative design we have achieved a ground-breaking permitted development approval whilst maintaining compliance in line with our client’s strict water regulations. We look forward beginning construction of the Grafham Water Solar Farm. It will help to further reduce Anglian Water’s operating costs and create significant carbon savings.”

Grafham Water Solar Array is designed around one of Anglian Water’s largest reservoirs. The array is over 1.5 miles long, end to end, spread over 5 fields and a main road. Six main substations, which are split into two 11,000v circuits, will feed into the Water Treatment Works and help power the site. A 2MW section of the array will be ballasted to avoid services and variable ground conditions. We plan to preserve surrounding hedges and trees to not detriment the local wildlife and habitats.

We have built a long-standing relationship with Anglian Water, boosting onsite solar generation at operational sites across the East of England. Multiple solar arrays have been completed to date under the solar PPA deployment programme, which include Shenfield WRC and Jaywick WRC.

David Riley, Head of Carbon Neutrality at Anglian Water commented

” As a large low-lying region, it takes a huge amount of energy to pump and recycle water to put back into the environment. As one of the largest energy consumer and emitters in the region, we have an important responsibility to reduce our operational carbon emissions. We can achieve this by generating our own renewable energy and we aim to generate 44% of the electricity we need from renewable sources by 2025.

“Our commitment to achieve net zero carbon by 2030 across the water industry signals a significant increase in the momentum, technology and innovation required to tackle such a big challenge. Using more sustainable sources of energy to power our operations will form a large part of this work and help us on our journey to being a net zero carbon business.”

hbs new energies complete solar array for anglian water jaywick water recycling centre solar ppa programme powering water treatmentImage: 894 kWp solar array completed by HBS New Energies at Anglian Water Jaywick Water Recycling Centre (WRC)

Choose HBS to help power your water operations towards net zero

With the UK water industry announcing ambitious plans to achieve net zero carbon by 2030, increasing self generation through renewable energy has been recognised as a proven option to help reach this target.

HBS have developed extensive solar installation experience and technical expertise within the UK water industry. This has seen us become a trusted solar partner to several water companies including Anglian Water, Welsh Water and United Utilities.

We’re perfectly positioned to develop, fund and deliver solar projects that help power water company operations with onsite renewable energy and provide long-term operational and carbon savings. To see solar case studies HBS have completed for water companies visit online. If you have a project enquiry email our team today .

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