Work has begun on Europe’s largest floating solar park at United Utilities’ Godley reservoir in Hyde, Greater Manchester.
The £3.5 million solar farm will comprise of 12,000 floating solar panels installed on an area of 45,500 square metres, delivering an expected 2.7GWh annually of renewable energy, zero emission electricity that will be used directly on site.
United Utilities stated that the project was expected cut its energy costs and as well reduce customers’ water bills.
The company also stated the projected is expected to be completed before Christmas, staying away from the risk of it being impacted by cuts to solar subsidies that the government is planning for 2016.
“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,” stated Chris Stubbs, Head of Renewable Energy at United Utilities. “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.”
The United Utilities array in Manchester will the world’s 2nd largest, following the project in Japan, and the largest in Europe by some distance, surpassing an 800-panel pilot project installed in Berkshire.
“While floating solar has been deployed elsewhere around the world, most notably in Japan, it is a new technology to the UK,” said Stubbs. “Installations such as the Godley solar scheme will help us to keep energy costs and water customers’ bills low.”