PV panels at one site
metric tons/year CO2 reduction
Affinity Water is the largest water-only supplier in the UK. Every day they supply a total of around 950 million liters to 3.6 million customers in parts of Greater London, Kent, and Essex.
Affinity Water has a long-standing commitment to the environment and sustainability and has campaigned for legislative change to highlight water efficiency and its role in tackling climate change. They have also committed to reaching net zero operational emissions by 2030 and to be fully net zero by 2050.
The utility’s environmental efforts go beyond water conservation; however, treating and distributing drinking water to customers is an energy-intensive process and Affinity Water’s most significant contributor to carbon output. It is, therefore, a key area in which Affinity Water is looking to extend their sustainability initiative as part of their plan for net zero.
As the first step in a broader plan to generate 10% of their energy through sustainable solar and other renewable generation, Affinity Water partnered with Centrica Business Solutions to install solar panels at their Water Treatment Works in Chertsey, Surrey, in the United Kingdom.
Affinity Water’s Chertsey Water Treatment Works produces 45 million liters of water a day. It now houses 1,820 solar panels generating around 16% of the plant’s total power need – the equivalent of about 250 households.
Combined with the solar installation at their Walton Water Treatment Works of 1200 solar panels, installed by another provider, the two installations generate a total of 1.5MWp of clean and renewable energy.
We chose Centrica Business Solutions because we’re new to this. We needed a partner with the supply chain and expertise to install the solar panels efficiently and safely.”
Steve Plumb, Asset Strategy and Capital Delivery Director
The two sites are now live and operational, acting as compelling proofs-of-concept for the project’s wider implementation. Affinity Water now plans to extend the project to a further 28 sites in their quest to meet their target of generating 10% of their overall power usage from solar, including sites significantly bigger than Chertsey and Walton.
“It’s been really important for us to have buy-in from Affinity’s Board, but the business case is brilliant,” explained Plumb. “The board has really bought into the project, and it’s now actually pushing me to go faster.” Justin Jacober, Managing Director at Centrica Business Solutions, added:
“One reason we love to work with water companies such as Affinity is our ability to access land, which allows us to construct and produce immediate demand response from an electrical standpoint. This project will reduce carbon by 188 metric tons a year, and we can replicate this on many other sites.”
Jacober concluded: “Given the current market volatility, there’s no better time to invest in projects such as this. It reduces businesses’ Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) footprints, it contributes to reporting climate requirements, and overall it’s great for the environment and the economy.”
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