Solar giant switched on in East Dunbartonshire

A solar scheme of seismic proportions is now live at Scottish Water’s most energy intensive site. The five-million-pound scheme, led by Scottish Water Horizons, has seen 8,448 ground-mounted solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels installed at Balmore Water Treatment Works in East Dunbartonshire. It is by far the largest solar scheme in Scottish Water’s portfolio to date.

Nineteen per cent of the electricity needed to operate the facility will now be offset through green technology, achieving colossal savings of 1,100 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per annum.

Outgoing chief executive of Scottish Water, Douglas Millican, has spent many of his 20 years’ service driving the organisation’s net zero journey. During his time, he committed Scottish Water to achieving net zero emissions by 2040.

Recognising Balmore’s importance and contribution towards this significant goal, he said: “This PV scheme at Balmore Water Treatment Works near Torrance is a prime example of how we can use existing Scottish Water assets to adapt, invest, and innovate, in order to support a flourishing Scotland. It is a hugely important milestone for us in our net zero journey.

“All of Scottish Water’s activities are energy-intensive and drive emissions which is why investing in renewable power technologies is embedded in our Net Zero Routemap. We must continue to grow new capabilities and change our behaviour to eliminate all emissions associated with our activities – while delivering excellent service and great value to our customers.”

The ambitious project has been in planning and development for years. After around eight months of construction, project manager Brian James is proud to see it come to fruition.

He said: “This is a monumental achievement for Scottish Water and Scottish Water Horizons. Generating 4.45 GWh of energy a year– enough to power around 1,500 standard UK homes – it will make great strides in helping to lead our industry to net zero emissions by 2040 and beyond.”

Balmore serves around 565,000 people with great-tasting Scottish water. It has the ability to treat water from Loch Katrine and Loch Lomond for supply to parts of East Dunbartonshire, Glasgow, North Lanarkshire, the Falkirk and Grangemouth areas, and West Lothian.

Three electric vehicle charging facilities have also been installed at the facility to support the transition of Scottish Water’s 1,600-vehicle fleet of vans and tankers from fossil fuels to clean electricity.

Local renewable energy solutions specialists FES Support Services Ltd. delivered the super solar scheme at Balmore on behalf of Scottish Water Horizons, Scottish Water’s commercial subsidiary.

Scottish Water Horizons celebrates its 15th anniversary this month and managing director, Paul Kerr, views the Balmore PV Scheme as one of the organisation’s biggest successes in its diversification of green technologies.

He said: “When Scottish Water Horizons was formed in April 2008, we were expected to achieve big things; our very purpose was to harness the potential from Scottish Water assets, using innovation, knowledge and industry-leading expertise to help customers, our environment and our economy thrive.

“The scheme at Balmore encapsulates all of this. It is the largest PV scheme we have ever delivered for Scottish Water and contributes massively towards achieving net zero emissions, delivering service excellence and creating greener communities.”

Balmore joins a long list of PV schemes already up and running at many Scottish Water assets across Scotland. To date, 21 MW (megawatts) of PV power has been installed at 62 sites, generating 17.2 GWh (gigawatt hours) of renewable energy every year.



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