GLOBAL

Europe’s largest floating solar farm powers up

The size of eight football pitches, the solar array will power a water treatment plant on the outskirts of London.

On the Queen Elizabeth II reservoir near Heathrow airport, the solar panel array has been built to supply energy to a Thames Water treatment plant fed by the reservoir.

With a surface area of 57,000 m2 the solar array covers less than 10% of the reservoir.
Built from 23,046 solar panel modules, the array is expected to generate 5.8 million kilowatt hours in its first year, enough to power 1,800 homes.

Nick Boyle, CEO of Lightsource, the company which has built the array said that although constructing the array on water added to the logistical challenge of the project there were benefits as well “ The solar panels work optimally at low temperatures as does the wiring and the water acts to cool them, increasing their efficiency.”

The solar array will not connect to the National Grid but after testing is complete it will be attached to the private electrical grid at the water plant where it is expected to provide 20% of the plant’s electricity needs.

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