The UK’s first solar powered major waste treatment plant17. September 2012 | By: Solarcentury
Lightsource Renewable Energy Limited have, together with Solarcentury, completed a 5MW utility scale solar plant close to the village of Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire.
The solar plant will provide enough ‘green’ electricity during daylight hours to power over 70% of AmeyCespa’s Mechanical Biological Treatment plant in Waterbeach, providing a sustainable, local energy solution.
Located at the hamlet of Chittering, this 20,000 panel solar park is built in a discreet location and is not visible from the main road. The plant will generate up to 4,552MWh annually, an optimum level achieved with an experienced engineering team and use of only the highest quality materials. This is sufficient energy to power the equivalent of over 1,200 homes continuously without any noise or pollution.
Frans van den Heuvel, CEO of Solarcentury said: “We are all incredibly excited about this project. Rather than the plant being connected to export into the grid, there has been significant engineering work to provide 3km of cabling from the plant running directly to local waste management company AmeyCespa.”
He added: “Unlike most utility scale ground mounted solar plants in the country, this solar plant prioritises the use of electricity by AmeyCespa’s facilities first, with minimal excess energy being fed back into the national grid. We expect to see many more commercial projects of this nature in the future as organisations become increasingly aware of fixed, low cost solar power.”
Lightsource supplies this ‘green’ energy to the waste management company through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for 25 years. This method of energy supply significantly benefits high electricity users like AmeyCespa, not only by cutting electricity costs, but also providing better control and predictability on budget forecasting.
Nick Boyle, CEO of Lightsource Renewable Energy said: “It goes without saying that energy prices are set to continue to rise in the coming years. According to current UK Power Index estimates from DECC, we are set to experience a 5-8% increase per annum from conventional suppliers. Aside from the expense, if you are in heavy industry or the public sector, the unpredictability of fossil fuel electricity costs can make budgeting and planning for the future virtually impossible. However, PPAs through Lightsource have now become a proven way to eliminate much of this uncertainty and cut energy costs.”
Nick Boyle continued: “Our PPAs are proving attractive because they provide much needed pricing certainty coupled with a significant reduction in electricity bills. As we own our plants, we specify only premium equipment and maintain it to the highest possible standards. This ensures optimum output and supply to our clients. We create a high quality, appropriate and hassle free solar solution for any business or property owner. Our newly completed plant here at Chittering is a prime example of how Lightsource can develop solar solutions that work for the local community.”
Sarah Clover, Account Director for AmeyCespa East, said: “As a company which provides itself not only on innovation, but working closely with the communities in which we are based, AmeyCespa is delighted to be involved in this partnership to make use of a local source of renewable energy. Minimising our impact on the environment is at the heart of everything we do, and using solar energy to power one of our key facilities demonstrates our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint.”