United Utilities begins work on 3MW floating solar plant

Big in Japan: United Utilities 3MW floating solar power plant is one of the world's largest, for now...
Big in Japan: United Utilities’ 3MW floating solar plant is one of the world’s largest, for now…

United Utilities is to bolster its self-generation to the tune of 3MW as work begins this week on a floating solar PV plant at Godley reservoir. The water firm will complete the installation ahead of steep cuts to solar subsidies.

The Hyde project will be the largest floating solar plant in Europe and is expected to deliver up to 2.7GWh of power per annum. United Utilities hopes the system will be commissioned and operational before Christmas.

Power is one of the water company’s biggest operational costs and the solar installation is one of a number of schemes United Utilities is implementing to cut bills and earn revenue from its assets.

The company has also outlined plans to significantly scale its demand response capability, aiming for capacity of some 50MW over the next five years. Around 30MW will come from diesel generators providing short term operating reserve (STOR).

The floating solar plant will be the second biggest in the world, although several giant installations in Japan will likely usurp the podium in 2016.

United Utilities head of renewable energy Chris Stubbs said the firm planned to generate 35% of its power requirements by 2020. The project would deliver “a significant contribution” to that aim, he said and would provide the Hyde treatment works with a third of its energy requirements.

“As part of United Utilities’ energy strategy to generate more power we identified the Godley reservoir as a suitable site to install a floating solar array to provide the water treatment works with approximately 33 per cent of its energy requirements.

“While floating solar has been deployed elsewhere around the world, most notably in Japan, it is a new technology to the UK. Installations such as the Godley solar scheme will help us to keep energy costs and water customers’ bills low.”

Related stories

Pay more for demand response, United Utilities tells National Grid

Solar boom turns to bust

Businesses braced for cuts to FIT generation and export rates

Government should subsidies energy efficiency over renewables and give Esos teeth

Demand side response report 2015

UK’s ’20 GW of back-up generation should be itemised’, say Lords

Ofgem boss flags rule changes to speed demand response

Free download: Demand side response report 2015

National Grid plots superfast grid balancing service

Click here to see if you qualify for a free subscription to the print edition of The Energyst, or to renew.

Follow us at @EnergystMedia. For regular bulletins, sign up for the free newsletter.


  1. Floating solar plants are wonderful ideas. And it’s very important to maintain effectively same direction and position on the water for floating solar plants. Because directional change of solar panels reduces electricity production. So floating solar plants also need the directional control mooring systems for their parked positions. Azimuth and position change of floating solar plants caused by wind, waves and external forces. Restoring Force Strengthened Mooring System for floating solar plants has been created by INIWORLD in South Korea. This Mooring System generates Restoring Force immediately when floating solar plants are being rotated or moved on the water.

    In addition, you have to reduce vibration to install floating solar plants. Because, it can make micro-cracks to floating solar panels and the durability problem of floating solar plants. The risk of power loss in PV modules due to micro cracks is increasing. Vibrations caused by wind, waves and external forces. New Type Floating Body Stabilizer has been created in South Korea. The Floating Body Stabilizers generate drag force immediately when floating solar plants are being rolled, pitched and yawed on the water. You can see them in Ochang Dam natural reservoir, South Korea. INIWORLD


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here