Water company Pennon is paying solar developer Elgin Energy £85 million for three unbuilt solar farms totalling 100MW in potential. Today’s purchase deepens the utility’s commitment to run its pumps & purifying plant on opex-meagre, light-derived electricity.
The three projects covered by today’s deal are in Buckinghamshire, Aberdeenshire and Cumbria. Once completed, they will together generate over 95 GWh, or 40% of the utility’s annual power requirement across all sites, up from around 25% at present.
Pennon provides water & sewage services to Bristol, Bournemouth and across England’s South West.
En route to an intended 50% power self-sufficiency via renewables by 2030, Pennon recently bought a solar project near Dunfermline.
Today’s acquisitions range in capacity from 15MW to 50MW. With Dunfermline, all four are expected to be generating by the end of 2025, providing what the company calls “attractive commercial returns” and reducing the firm’s exposure to volatility in wholesale power markets.
“We are excited about this milestone and the positive impact it will have on our mission to achieve a greener, more sustainable world, “ said Susan Davy, Pennon Group’s CEO.
Last year Elgin Energy completed the UK’s largest solar PV transaction to date, selling a portfolio of 12 PV projects totalling 519MWp to Iberdrola subsidiary Scottish Power Renewables (UK). The deal included 70MW of collocated grid-scale batteries.
For the vendors, CEO Ronan Kilduff responded: “We will continue to develop and deliver on our 14GW project pipeline across the UK, Ireland and Australia, working closely with landowners, local authorities and all related stakeholders.”
Among water firms, North West Water, United Utilities and Thames have led investments in solar arrays on and around reservoirs.
Debt-loaded Thames, Britain’s biggest water utility, runs a high-profile floating PV farm on its Queen Elizabeth reservoir near Walton-on-Thames, Surrey. Developed by Lightsource Energy before its purchase by BP, that £6 million venture began making electricity in 2016.