Southern Water has appointed contractor Forrest as sole contractor to a five year renewable energy framework to install solar panels across their portfolio of sites.

Forrest’s specialist Energy division will undertake the design, supply, installation, operation and maintenance of ground and roof mounted solar PV systems. This is part of Southern Water’s wider plan to increase the amount of renewable energy it produces.

Combined, the first three sites to be identified (Testwood 1.9MW, Otterbourne 1.5MW and Hardham 0.85MW) will generate approximately 4,318,652kWh/year. The generated energy will be consumed on the sites, reducing Southern Water’s dependence on the national grid.

Work has already begun on the 1.9MW ground mounted solar PV install at Testwood Water Supply Works of over 7,000 panels.

Martin Ross, Energy Manager at Southern Water, said: “Harnessing solar energy is key to us becoming a more sustainable business, something which is very much part of our long-term strategy. Utility companies are energy intensive and there is a need for us all to reduce our carbon footprint and become less reliant on the grid.

“These schemes are part of a much bigger package of work already in place. 17 percent of our total energy use now comes from renewable sources, putting us among the best in the industry. We also have achieved our fourth Carbon Trust Standard accreditation in recognition of our work.”

Paul McCarren, Energy Services Director at Forrest said “Coupled with its wider package of sustainability work, this programme of solar installations will help Southern Water meet its aims of operating as a more environmentally-friendly business. As energy-intensive organisations, water utilities providers are in a great position to invest in renewable technology. It helps reduce their reliance on fossil fuels while moderating high energy costs in the long term.”