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Centrica helps Affinity Water reduce carbon emissions with solar

A water treatment plant in Surrey has seen a summer of savings after Centrica Business Solutions completed construction on a solar farm at Affinity Water’s production site in Chertsey.

The site is the first of two Affinity Water pilot sites in Surrey that will ultimately generate 1.2MWp of renewable energy. The arrays took full advantage of the good weather and produced a daily average of 7,640 Kilowatt Hours (kWh) of electricity throughout June. Since April 2022 the combined arrays have generated more than 1,095 MWh of electricity, saving more than £215,000 in energy costs.

Affinity Water’s Chertsey Water Treatment Works produces 45 million litres a day. It now houses 1,820 solar panels, producing enough energy for around 12 per cent of the site’s needs. Since going live in April, the panels have reduced energy costs by nearly £145,000, saving 160 tonnes of CO2.

The company plans to expand to a further 28 sites, and on completion the solar panels will generate between 20 and 23.5 MWh of clean and renewable energy every year. They anticipate investing a further £29M in solar power alone - a key step in achieving carbon net zero.

“We chose Centrica Business Solutions because we're new to this,” said Steve Plumb, Asset Strategy and Capital Delivery Director at Affinity Water. “We needed to partner with their supply chain and draw on their expertise to install the solar panels efficiently and safely. We plan to do a further 28 sites in phase 2 to generate 10 per cent of our electricity through solar. We also have some further large-scale proposals that we are excited about and want to develop in the future.”

Steve Plumb added: “It’s been really important for us to get buy in from the Board, who are equally committed to our sustainability objectives and can see the benefits of us doing this and want us to go faster. Together with our Walton site we are showing our commitment to achieving carbon net zero. Both sites are now live and producing clean and sustainable energy for us to use.”

We chose Centrica Business Solutions because we're new to this, We needed to partner with their supply chain and draw on their expertise to install the solar panels efficiently and safely
Steve Plumb, Affinity Water

Justin Jacober, Director at Centrica Business Solutions UK+I, added: “We are delighted to kickstart the solar journey for Affinity Water. One reason we love to work with water companies such as Affinity Water is that they tend to have a lot of land and they are high energy users, so solar installations really make sense from both an environmental and financial standpoint.”

Jacober added: “Given the current market volatility, there's no better time to invest in projects like this. The Chertsey site can reduce carbon emissions by 188 tonnes a year, helping Affinity to reduce the environmental impact of its operations and reducing its reliance on grid electricity.”

Project Fact File

  • No of solar panels installed - 1820
  • Energy cost savings to date, using the 22/23 Tariff = £144,961
  • Carbon savings to date (tCO2e) = 158 tCO2e
  • Energy produced since energisation= 777,690 kWh
Affinity Water is the largest water-only supplier in the UK. Every day it supplies a total of around 950 million litres to 3.6 million customers

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