Thames Water building Europe's largest floating solar array
Europe's biggest-ever floating solar panel array is to be installed on the Queen Elizabeth II reservoir in London. The array will have a peak capacity of 6.3 MW and is expected to generate 5.8 million kWh in its first year, which is enough to power around 1,800 homes.
Along with the announcement that Norway is to build Europe's largest onshore wind power project, the news reflects the ongoing move towards renewable energy. Despite this, the array is not actually being built to contribute towards the UK's energy demand, but instead towards that of water company Thames Water.
The array is part of the firm's aim to generate a third of its own energy by 2020, and is being built in partnership with Ennoviga Solar and Lightsource Renewable Energy. As of 2014/2015, Thames Water was generating 12.5 percent of its own energy and it is currently said to have solar panels on 41 of its sites.
The floating array will cover around a tenth of the 128.3-ha (317-ac) reservoir, utilising what is otherwise redundant space on the surface. It will comprise over 23,000 photovoltaic panels and its floating platform employ over 61,000 floats and 177 anchors.
Source: Thames Water
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Another thing that is never disclosed on these projects is exactly how much extra the water customers are going to have to pay for this. I am certain it will not come out of company profits.