Opening of first solar powered waste treatment plant in UK

Lightsource Renewable Energy Limited together with Solarcentury, the UK’s most experienced solar photovoltaic (PV) installer, have completed a 5 MW utility scale solar plant close to the village of Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire, UK.

The solar plant will provide enough ‘green’ electricity during daylight hours to power over 70 per cent 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, sufficient energy to power the equivalent of over 1,00 homes continuously without any noise or pollution.

Frans van den Heuvel, CEO of Solarcentury said: “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.”

Solar panels 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.”

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 per cent 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.”

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