Articles & Case Studies

Dulas aid Welsh utility firm in reducing carbon emissions in a European first solar PV project

Posted: Monday 7th September 2015

One of the UK’s most experienced renewable energy firms has completed the first phase of Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water’s largest solar PV project as part of their initiative to reduce carbon emissions by 25%.

Renewables specialist Dulas worked with the utility firm on their substantial renewable energy plans for their Five Fords Wastewater Treatment Works near Wrexham. The plant is the largest sewage treatment works in North Wales, serving over 90,000 households.

Dulas’s latest project has been innovative, using four Fronius Aglio 460 central inverters, the first installation of its kind to take place in Europe. Engineers also installed almost 8,000 JA solar PV panels, with an expected annual generation of 1,830 MWh and predicted yearly CO2 savings of 1,084 tons.

The second phase of the development will see Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water install a further 2,000 solar panels which will generate 0.5MW of energy and should be completed by March of 2016. Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water’s treatment site previously benefited from an investment of £23m to install anaerobic digesters in 2012. These latest developments form a key part of the organisation’s aim to exploit the site’s renewable energy potential to the full.

Dulas believe that Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water’s decision to utilise disused land for the project will be a catalyst for change and encourage more businesses to make the most of commercially redundant sites for similar installations across the UK.

The installation was not without its challenges because of the scale of land available and the layout complexities on site including negotiating underground infrastructure associated with sludge treatment. Dulas drew on their three decades of experience of working in challenging environments during the construction.

Alistair Marsden, commercial manager at Dulas, said:

Dulas have worked closely with Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water for over eight years to deliver numerous renewable energy projects and the Five Fords installation follows hydro power projects installed by Dulas across their water treatment network in Wales. Work at Strata Florida in mid Wales saw innovative delivery of a hydropower scheme; a single turbine jointly powered from two independent water sources;. Development in the Conwy Valley saw two schemes integrated into break pressure tanks on the raw water feed to another water treatment works.

The Five Fords site has huge potential to reduce its carbon emissions and is a great example of how large organisations can make the most of poor quality land to implement energy saving systems and generate electricity using renewable sources.

Mike Pedley,Dŵr Cymru Welsh Waters Head of Energy commented: “Our plans to generate our own energy at Five Fords has allowed us to move one step closer to achieving our ambitious energy reduction targets. The process of treating and transporting drinking water and waste water are extremely energy intensive which is why we set ourselves this challenge to reduce our carbon footprint.“

The solar panels will have an operational life span of 20 years, after which they will either be renewed for future use or the land will be used for agricultural purposes.

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