Construction Work Starts on Europe’s Biggest Floating Solar Plant


Published Date : Oct 28, 2015

Construction activity in under way on what will become the largest floating solar plant in Europe, situated atop UK’s Godley Reservoir. 

The project developer, who also happens to the largest listed water company in the United Kingdom, announced earlier this week that the installation of the largest floating solar power system in the region had started construction at the Godley Reservoir in Hyde town in Greater Manchester. The overall project will cover 45,500 square meters area of the reservoirs entire area of 60,000 square meters, and will comprise 12,000 solar panels. When the project is completed, it will provide utility with 2.7 GWh of electricity every year, which will be used directly onsite. 

With the construction already begun, United Utilities is hoping to complete the construction, testing, as well as entire operation by Christmas this year. 

Head of renewable energy at United Utilities Chris Stubbs explained that the target is to produce 35 per cent of the overall power needs by 2020 and this project will help the company achieve its aim. It is part of United Utilities energy strategy to produce more power and as a result the Godley Reservoir was chosen as an ideal site to set up a floating solar plant that will provide water treatment works along with an estimated 33 per cent of the energy needs. 

Chris Stubbs added that even though floating solar arrays have been deployed in other places in the world, such as Japan, the one in the United Kingdom boasts of a new technology. The Godley solar scheme and other installations will help them keep water customers’ bills and energy costs low. 

Floating solar panels are not something new and several projects such as these are in operation or development around the world. The latest Godley Reservoir plant is sure to dwarf the only other site in the UK, the Berkshire 800-panel pilot project.