Capture

Europe’s biggest ever floating solar panel array is being installed by Lightsource Renewable Energy on London’s Queen Elizabeth II reservoir.

More than 23,000 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels will be floated on the reservoir near Walton-on-Thames, as part of Thames Water’s ambitious bid to self-generate a third of its own energy by 2020.

Lightsource, Europe’s leading solar energy company, is managing the installation of the project. With extensive expertise in both ground and roof mounted solar installations, the QEII project marks another impressive first for Lightsource.

Drawing on the experience from its in-house team of engineers, planners and project managers, Lightsource will oversee the deployment of more than 61,000 floats and 177 anchors, which will provide the floating platform for the solar array.

The low carbon, renewable energy produced by the floating solar generator will be used to help power Thames Water’s nearby water treatment works, which supplies water to customers. It will have a total installed peak capacity of 6.3 megawatts and is expected to generate 5.8 million kilowatt hours in its first year – equivalent to the annual consumption of around 1,800 homes.

The innovative floating pontoon will cover around a tenth of the reservoir – enough to fill eight Wembley football pitches.

Nick Boyle, CEO at Lightsource, said: “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.”

Thames Water’s energy manager, Angus Berry said: “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.”

Project Factfile – Thames Water – QEII Reservoir

Total PV capacity: 6.33 Megawatts Peak (MWp)

PV island surface: 57,500 m2

PV module capacity: 275W – monocrystalline

Total number of modules: 23,046

Total number of floats: 61,721

Total number of anchors: 177