NIW reduces carbon footprint with panels

NIW reduces carbon footprint with panels

5 June 2024

NEW solar panels which have been erected at the Drumaroad water treatment plant will help Northern Ireland Water reduce its carbon footprint.

As the largest consumer of electricity in the province, NI Water is committed to reducing costs, carbon footprint and increasing its resilience for the future. 

A series of roof and ground mounted solar panel installations were completed recently at one of three energy intensive sites, including Drumaroad.

As a result of the investment at the local plant and others, NI Water could potentially save around 218 tonnes of carbon in the first year.

In addition, the utility company aims to double its existing eight megawatts of solar generation by the end of March 2027. 

During the first phase of the project, NI Water has installed almost 2,200 solar photovoltaics panels across three sites to generate clean electricity and lower its carbon footprint.

The panels have a combined capacity of 0.9 megawatt of power which will capture the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity which will be consumed on-site, reducing demand from the electricity grid. 

The panels also generate 950,000 kilowatt hours which is comparable to producing enough electricity to power approximately 170 homes.

The solar scheme is part of NI Water’s wider plans to help tackle climate change and create a more sustainable future for Northern Ireland.

In addition to Drumaroad, on-site roof and ground mounted solar installations were also completed at energy intensive sites in Killyhevlin and Limavady.

NI Water project manager, Patrick Grimes, said it is exciting to see the expansion of renewable energy generation on its land.

“As the largest user of electricity in Northern Ireland we are keen to reduce our energy consumption where we can. Through this project, we could potentially reduce costs by around £145,000 annually,” he explained.

“As part of our goal to shift to 100% renewables, we are exploring further solar expansion via third party sites and strategic partnerships, in addition to investment in green hydrogen and recent large-scale battery deployment.”

Stephen McCleery, senior NI Water project engineer, said the three sites provided an excellent opportunity to increase solar generation and reduce demand from the electricity grid.