Group Water Scheme Solar Energy Project

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06.03.2020, 09:46

Group Water Scheme Solar Energy Project

Polecat Springs Group Water Scheme (GWS) in Elphin, County Roscommon, Ireland has become the first Group Water Scheme to use renewable energy to power its water treatment plant.

 

The scheme which is operated as a Community Co-operative and managed by a committee of 14 volunteers from the local area, will be able to reduce energy costs by 70 per cent and cut carbon emissions, following the launch of a new solar panel project. The photovoltaic (PV) system will directly help the environment by reducing CO2 emissions and enable the local community to benefit from water treatment cost savings.

Polecat Springs GWS supplies water to rural properties covering 80 square kilometres stretching from Elphin Town northwards to Carrick on Shannon and from Ballinameen eastwards to the River Shannon and is operated as a community co-operative. Installation of the new solar panels means electricity, which was previously drawn from the National Grid, will now be used to power the various stages of the water treatment process.

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Solar panels were selected as the best solution due to the location of the site and the amount of electricity required. In addition, there is also the future possibility to integrate battery storage at the site, which has the potential to make the water treatment plant 100 per cent self-sufficient. 

Operated under a contract by Veolia, the project has been supported by the Federation Of Group Water Schemes and been backed by a Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland grant covering 50 per cent of the investment. The resultant energy cost savings will enable the project to pay for itself within six years, and the project was installed by Veolia, Clár ICH and Eco Smart.

Eugene Cummins, Chief Executive, Roscommon County Council, says: “It is great to see the community around Polecat Springs investing in a more sustainable future that will see significant savings in energy and will contribute in a very positive way to climate change at a local level. This community initiative is an example to all and hopefully other schemes and communities will follow the example set by the Polecat Springs Group Water Scheme.”

Joe Higgins, Regional Director, Veolia, adds: “While developments similar to the one at Polecat Springs have been done at a municipal level, this is the first GWS that is using sustainable energy to power its water treatment plant operations. Veolia is delighted to have been involved in the project and we hope that more water schemes will invest in sustainable energy in the future.”

The Group Water Schemes’ Programme was introduced in 1962 to provide grant aid to rural communities for the construction of water distribution systems from local water sources. Communities set up voluntary co-operative structures known as Group Water Schemes to privately manage these water systems, with operating costs funded through contributions from Group members and Central Government subsidies.

Staff Reporter

Staff Reporter

FMIndustry.com covers the latest news, trends and opinion from the facilities management (FM) and corporate real estate (CRE) sectors. The FM market is currently estimated to be worth USD 1 trillion annually and is projected to grow at a compounded annualised rate of approximately 5% between now and 2026.

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