Grafham Water solar array switched on for first time as Anglian Water completes largest renewables project to date
21 September 2020
Anglian Water has achieved a significant milestone in its ambitious goal of being a net zero carbon business by 2030, as the company’s biggest solar array at Grafham Water is turned on for the first time this week.
Working with solar partner HBS New Energies and their PPA funder the Green Investment Group, this renewable energy source will generate over a quarter of the energy used by the site over the course of a year and save around 3,500 tonnes of carbon annually, significantly reducing the site’s carbon footprint.
Grafham Water uses approximately 45 million kilowatt hours of energy a year to supply clean water across the region to hundreds of thousands of customers. The energy generated by the solar panels will be used on site to help power essential operations. In total nearly 43,000 solar modules will generate over 26% of the energy used by the works; that’s enough electricity to power 3,000 houses. The solar energy produced will also prevent the equivalent of the annual carbon emissions of 1,000 family cars, based on 12,000 miles annually.
Jason Tucker, Director of Strategic Delivery and Commercial Assurance for Anglian Water, said: “We supply nearly 7 million customers across the East of England with water and water recycling services and the population continues to grow rapidly – in fact this region is one of the fastest growing in the UK and one that is most at risk from climate change. Our challenge is to address this increasing demand for services sustainably, and it’s that challenge which underpins our ambitious renewable energy strategy.
“Our ambition to power our operational sites through renewable energy is a vital part of our journey to reach net zero carbon by 2030. The scale of our challenge is significant and the solar array at Grafham is a great example of what can be delivered when working collaboratively with our supply chain.
“Grafham Water Treatment Works provides an essential service to hundreds of thousands of customers across the East of England. The connection of one of the largest solar arrays in the UK water industry is a significant moment, knowing that at certain times Grafham is fully self-sufficient with renewable energy, which is great for both our customers and the environment.
“The fact that this has been constructed and commissioned through the challenges of Covid- 19 makes the efforts of HBS New Energies alongside colleagues within Anglian Water and the Green Investment Group truly remarkable.”
Combined Heat and Power (CHP) engines, Wind and Solar all play a part in Anglian’s bid to reach net zero carbon by 2030, along with the rest of the water industry, but it’s solar which will see the biggest growth in renewable energy generation by Anglian Water over the coming years. The company aims to more than double the amount of power it generates from renewable sources by 2025 in order to power 44 per cent of its operations.
Anglian Water’s strong track record on carbon reduction – reducing capital carbon by 61% since 2010 and operational carbon by 34% since 2013/14 – has led to the company being chosen to co-lead the water sector’s joint commitment through Water UK to reach net zero by 2030.
James Bull, Managing Director for HBS New Energies said: "We are very proud and grateful to have worked with Anglian Water on this prestigious and ground breaking solar project, supporting their journey towards net zero carbon by 2030.
"From developing the opportunity, achieving one of the UK’s largest permitted development approvals, to designing out risk on a very complicated site and installing through a pandemic every team member excelled in both quality and effort.
"Graham water is a great example to all other water utilities and businesses showing what collaboration and a joint effort to succeed can achieve."
To watch Anglian Water's new video of the solar array, please click here. Images of the new installation are also available to view here.