Scottish Water Horizons: Solar Array
Like many businesses, Scottish Water is committed to cutting climate change by offsetting their carbon footprint with onsite renewable energy systems. Through their commerical subsidiary, Scottish Water Horizons, wind turbines, hydro schemes and solar arrays have been installed on sites throughout Scotland. As part of their bid to reduce electricity costs, cut carbon and be in control of their own energy generation, Sleepless Inch Wastewater Treatment Works (WwTW) on the outskirts of Perth was identified as a potential site for solar PV.
Scottish Water Horizons appointed Absolute Solar & Wind as the design and installation partner for the project, with the company having worked to install renewables on a number of the 1,837 WwTW sites operated by Scottish Water. Cogeo were appointed as Planning and Environmental Consultants for the project.
Approach & Solutions
Unlike many installations throughout the water authority sites, which are roof-mounted, a ground-mounted system was identified as the most viable option for Sleepless Inch. The site selected was a disused area to the south of the treatment works, outwith the site boundary, which consisted of unmaintained grassland and woodland scrub.
To accommodate the required 1116 panels it was clear that ecological surveys were going to be a key requirement to assess the potential impact of the array. Our Ecology Team undertook a Phase 1 Habitat survey and an otter survey as part of the environmental assessments, whilst our Planning Consultants addressed the Heritage, Landscape and Policy issues, preparing and submitting the Planning Statement and GIS maps.
Unsurprisingly, being on the banks of the River Tay, impacts to Otters was identified as a potential constraint to development. As part of the ecology efforts detailed surveys were carried out looking for signs that the species was using the area. This included looking for holts, spraints, footprints and slides in and around the development and adjoining waterways.
Whilst no signs of otters were found during the survey, our team recommended a number of ways to ensure no impact on otters using the site in the future. This allowed planning to be granted under delegated powers by Perth & Kinross Council with Cogeo's recommendations for ecological mitigation included as part of the planning conditions.