Europe’s biggest ever floating solar panel array is being installed on London’s Queen Elizabeth II reservoir as part of Thames Water’s ambitious bid to self-generate a third of its own energy by 2020.
Just over 23,000 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels will be floated on the reservoir near Walton-on-Thames, utilising a normally redundant suburban space on the surface, following an agreement between Thames Water, Ennoviga Solar and Lightsource Renewable Energy.
The innovative floating pontoon will cover around a tenth of the reservoir – enough to fill eight Wembley football pitches.
The low carbon, renewable energy produced will be used to help power the nearby water treatment works. 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.
Lightsource, a European solar energy company, has expertise in both ground and roof mounted solar installations and is managing the installation. Drawing on the experience from its in-house team the company will oversee the deployment of more than 61,000 floats and 177 anchors, which will provide the floating platform for the solar array.