EXCLUSIVE by Scottish Energy News
Europe’s largest floating solar-power array has been launched on a reservoir in west London and is now generating up to 6.3MW of electricity – thanks to financial support from the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Thames Water buys all energy generated by the project on the Queen Elizabeth reservoir as part of a power purchase agreement with solar developer Lightsource, which has an office in Livingston.
Throughout the early stages of project planning prior to construction, engineering consultancy OST Energy acted as technical advisor to the Royal Bank, providing a range of due diligence services crucial to the final investment decision.
Backed by the Royal Bank, Lightsource managed the technically-demanding project, which saw the installation of more than 23,000 PV panels mounted on 61,720 individual floats, which the solar experts will continue to operate and maintain the site for the lifetime of the project.
High-energy users such as Thames Water are set to benefit from the roll-out of floating solar on existing water storage facilities to directly support nearby industrial applications, meet sustainability targets and reduce on-site energy costs.
Simon Turner, Director, OST Energy, commented: “Floating solar is a really exciting new technology, not just for markets with scarce land availability such as Japan, but also throughout Europe, where it can provide significant benefits for energy-intensive industrial and utility users.
“This first project finance deal illustrates that the technology now has considerable backing from the banking sector, and the visible success of early projects will ultimately contribute to cost reductions that will only enhance the appeal of floating solar to developers, independent power producers and investors.”