Scottish Water Horizons has completed work on a milestone £2 million solar power scheme in Perth as part of a drive to reach net zero emissions by 2040.
The scheme is the company’s largest single solar energy investment to date and is the first to include battery storage facilities in its design, which will enable around 94% of the renewable power
generated to be used on site.
More than 2,500 solar panels are now installed on land adjoining Perth’s Waste Water Treatment Works at Sleepless Inch on the River Tay, with a combined generating capacity of just over 1 Megawatt (MW).
It’s the 50th solar scheme to be delivered by Horizons, a commercial subsidiary of Scottish Water, who are developing a programme of low carbon opportunities to help the utility achieve net zero emissions by 2040.
“The ability to maximise green energy production as well as store and release this energy when
we need it is a vital part of our journey to net zero.”
The green energy generated is expected to provide around a quarter of the electricity needed to treat water that has been used by customers across Perth city.
The battery storage technology allows energy to be stored when the sun is at its peak and then delivered to site when it is most needed, any time of day or night. This will help to cut the carbon footprint of the works by around 160 tonnes of CO2 per annum – the equivalent of offsetting 580,000 miles from the average passenger car.
The waste water treatment works in Perth is a key site for Scottish Water, serving customers across the city. Being able to maximise the renewable energy generated by storing via battery technology will be an important boost to the value of the investment – ultimately reducing energy costs at the site by around 40% on an ongoing basis.
In addition to the new solar photovoltaic panels, the project included the installation of the utility’s first rapid electric vehicle charging facilities to support the transition of the company’s 1,600-vehicle fleet away from fossil fuels towards clean electricity. The site is located close to the M90, at a key hub of the transport network.
Scottish Water Horizons Business Development Manager, Donald MacBrayne, said: “We’re excited to have our first battery facility up and running to help reduce emissions and tackle climate change. The ability to maximise green energy production as well as store and release this energy when we need it is a vital part of Scottish Water’s journey to net zero.
“By harnessing this technology, we now have a much wider opportunity to install renewables schemes that were previously unviable due to grid constraints. It’s a massive step forward for us and will form an integral part of how we cut our emissions in the coming years. It’s fantastic news for the customers in Perth as they can now benefit from a treatment service with a significantly lower carbon footprint.”
The project is soon to benefit from collaboration with Strathclyde University to maximise the benefits of the battery system, whilst contributing to renewables skills development.
Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport, Michael Matheson, said: “This is a very welcome project from Scottish Water and marks a real turning point in how renewable energy is incorporated into sites and placed at the heart of powering Scotland’s essential services. At the same time, it can be a part of Perth’s bold ambition to become the most sustainable small city in Europe.”
The solar and battery scheme at Perth is part of Scottish Water’s wider investment strategy in the city’s infrastructure to enable the vital delivery of water and waste water services to customers – both now and in the future.