Centrica energises Surrey-based water treatment plant with solar farm

Centrica energises Surrey-based water treatment plant with solar farm. Image: Centrica.

Centrica has confirmed a Surrey-based water treatment plant has seen the benefits of utilising renewable energy via the completion of a local solar farm.

This is the first of two Affinity Water pilot sites in Surrey that will collectively generate 1.2MW of renewable energy. The solar farm has been providing renewable energy for Affinity Water’s Chertsey Water Treatment Works to meet around 12% of the site’s needs. 

“We are delighted to kickstart the solar journey for Affinity Water. One reason we love to work with water companies such as Affinity Water is that they tend to have a lot of land and they are high energy users, so solar installations really make sense from both an environmental and financial standpoint,” said Justin Jacober, director at Centrica Business Solutions UK & Ireland.

“Given the current market volatility, there’s no better time to invest in projects like this. The Chertsey site can reduce carbon emissions by 188 tonnes a year, helping Affinity to reduce the environmental impact of its operations and reducing its reliance on grid electricity.”

The project installed a total of 1820 solar panels and has said the energy produced since its installation amounted to 777,690kWh. This generation had benefitted from the heatwave on Tuesday 19 July, with solar power output having met up to a quarter of the UK’s power demand.

“We chose Centrica Business Solutions because we’re new to this. We needed to partner with their supply chain and draw on their expertise to install the solar panels efficiently and safely,” said Steve Plumb, asset strategy and capital delivery director at Affinity Water.

“It’s been really important for us to get buy in from the Board, who are equally committed to our sustainability objectives and can see the benefits of us doing this and want us to go faster. Together with our Walton site we are showing our commitment to achieving carbon net zero. Both sites are now live and producing clean and sustainable energy for us to use.”

Centrica has been vocal on its ambitions for solar generation with the firm targeting a portfolio of 650MW by 2026. The company is also looking to grow its battery portfolio over the same period, with an aspiration of hitting around 900MW of low carbon assets.

The battery assets would be controlled using Centrica Business Solutions’ PowerRadar demand side response platform, which was acquired with the purchase of Belgian company REstore in 2017.

One of the first solar projects under this development began construction in April 2022 via the 18MW Codford Solar Farm, near Warminster in Wiltshire. The 72-acre site was acquired in 2021, and received investment approval in December 2021. Local MP Andrew Murrison visited the site on 22 April to help install the first of 33,000 solar panels that will sit on the site.

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