Construction starts on Europe’s biggest floating solar project

15 February 2016 (Last Updated February 15th, 2016 18:30)

Construction works have been initiated for the floating solar panel project on Queen Elizabeth II reservoir in London, UK.

Construction works have been initiated for the floating solar panel project on Queen Elizabeth II reservoir in London, UK.

Said to be the largest of its type in Europe, the floating solar project will help Thames Water to self-generate 33% of its own power by 2020.

With more than 23,000 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, the project will generate clean electricity that will be enough to power 1,800 homes every year, as well as the nearby water treatment plant.

"We're therefore constantly evolving new skill sets to ensure that all of our projects deliver maximum energy generation over the lifetime of the installation."

This 6.3MW floating project is being developed as part of an agreement between Thames Water, Ennoviga Solar and Lightsource.

Under the agreed terms, Lightsource will take responsibility for the installation close to 61,000 floats and 177 anchors, which will provide the floating platform for the solar array.

Lightsource CEO Nick Boyle said: "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.

"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. We're therefore constantly evolving new skill sets to ensure that all of our projects deliver maximum energy generation over the lifetime of the installation."

Ciel et Terre International has manufactured the floating mounting system for the project.

Ciel et Terre international business development director Eva Pauly said: "This is our largest project outside of Japan and the first one with European bank financing, proving that our technology is not only suitable for water utilities, but has also been recognised as bankable in Europe, as well as Asia."

With solar panels currently on 41 of its sites, Thames Water generated 12.5% of its electricity requirements from renewable sources during 2014/2015, in a bid to reduce its reliance on the grid.