Hyde in Greater Manchester will lead the rest of Europe with the installation of the biggest floating solar power system on the town’s Godley reservoir.
The development of 12,000 panels – which will cover an area of 45,500 sq m – is an investment of £3.5 million by United Utilities to reduce energy costs, and keep customers future water bills low.
The target is to complete the installation, test it and bring it into operation before Christmas 2015. Once complete, the 12-week project will provide United Utilities with 2.7 GWh per year of renewable, zero carbon power to be used directly by the site. The scheme is part of United Utilities’ ongoing carbon reduction strategy.
Chris Stubbs, head of renewable energy at United Utilities, commented: “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.
“As part of United Utilities’ energy strategy to generate more power we identified the Godley reservoir as a suitable site to install a floating solar array to provide the water treatment works with approximately 33 per cent of its energy requirements.
“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 to keep energy costs and water customers’ bills low.”
At the same time Godley will dwarf the only other solar site in the UK, a 800-panel pilot in Berkshire, and will be the second biggest in the world after a scheme in Japan.