Lightsource Renewable Energy, a British company specializing in solar energy, have announced that construction has begun on what is believed to be the largest floating photovoltaic complex in Europe.
Walton-on-Thames, a town located on the Thames, about 20 miles from London, was chosen as the site on the Queen Elizabeth II reservoir to install this complex of 61 000 177 floats and anchors.
More than 23 000 solar panels will produce 6.33 MW of power, which will be used to power the water treatment plant nearby and will generate power totalling 5.8 million kWh per year, equivalent to the energy needed to supply 1,800 houses.
The construction of the plant forms part of the project led by the Thames Water company to produce a third of its energy itself by 2020.
Nick Boyle, CEO of Lightsource, commented on the news, declaring:
“We’re delighted to have begun work on another ambitious milestone project for Lightsource with our first floating solar installation. There is a great need from energy intensive industries to reduce their carbon footprint, as well as the amount they are spending on electricity and solar can be the perfect solution.
“Over the last five years we’ve successfully completed ground and roof installations of all shapes and sizes, but this project has some obvious differences and has presented our team with a set of fresh challenges to overcome. Our O&M team is also constantly evolving new skill sets to ensure that all of our projects deliver maximum energy generation over the lifetime of the installation.”
Angus Berry, manager of energy for Thames Water, also spoke about the aims of the project, stating: “Becoming a more sustainable business is integral to our long term strategy and this innovative new project brings us one step closer to achieving our goal – this is the right thing for our customers, the right thing for our stakeholders and most importantly the right thing for the environment.”
Lightsource have not yet revealed the launch date for the new 57 000 square metre complex. However, to give an idea of the size of the proposed plant, it’s anticipated that a tenth of the Queen Elizabeth II reservoir will be covered by the floating pontoon.