The Coal Authority has turned to solar energy for its mine water treatment to help the organisation save energy and reduce costs.
The non-departmental public body of the UK Government has installed more than 2,000 solar panels at the Bates mine water treatment scheme near Blyth, in Northumberland.
The solar installation has the capacity to produce 550,000kWh of electricity every year and is believed to be performing above its expected capacity – at its peak, it can generate 570kW of power.
In a typical year, 200,000kWh of electricity is used for mine water treatment and 350,000kWh of power is exported to the grid.
Mine water treatment schemes need energy to work hard cleaning mine water for safe release into watercourses.
Projections have estimated the scheme can reduce energy use significantly and drive down electricity costs by around £25,000 a year.
The Coal Authority will also benefit annually from £8,250 in generation payments from the government’s Feed-in Tariff scheme, as well as £20,750 in export payments to the National Grid.
Since its commission in 2019, the solar installation has helped save around 200 tonnes of carbon emissions.
Colin Lambert, the Coal Authority’s Innovation Manager said: “As environmental sustainability technology develops and we see more opportunities to make use of these solutions in our schemes, we can make sure that we continue to have a positive impact on the environment.
“Our approach is about assessing and implementing the most recent, suitable advances in solar energy generation to enhance the production of clean renewable energy. This emphasis on innovation and investment has enabled us to further our ambitions in sustainable development. We have drafted plans to set up further solar power installations in the future which we are equally excited about.”