Irish Water goes solar to reduce emissions at new Thurles Water Treatment Plant

22 January 2021

As part of its commitment to reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment, Irish Water has integrated solar energy generation works at the recently completed Thurles Water Treatment Plant which will save over 40 tonnes of carbon every year.

Working in partnership with Tipperary County Council, this project involved the installation of 230 solar panels on the roof of the recently constructed treatment plant, generating clean, renewable energy to run the plant. These solar panels will generate 83,264 kWh (kilowatt hours) of electricity per year – equivalent to the amount of electricity needed to power 20 houses.

The generation of clean renewable energy will lead to a 10% reduction in imported electricity at the site, reducing overall running costs and greenhouse gas emissions. It also provides a backup source of energy in the event of power outages, further improving the resilience of the plant. All the solar panels have a 25-year power output warranty, generating energy for now and long into the future.

Sean Twohig, Irish Water’s Regional Infrastructure Lead, said: “The recent completion of the Thurles Water Treatment Plant has ensured that over 15,000 people in the area have access to a safe, secure and reliable water supply. Now, the completion of this element of the project means that that water is being treated and supplied in a sustainable, energy-efficient way.

This demonstrates Irish Water’s commitment to improving energy efficiency and reducing our carbon footprint. To date, we have made significant progress on the journey to become an energy efficient, low carbon, sustainable water utility. By 2020 we achieved over 32% improvement in our energy efficiency performance with a corresponding saving of over 75,000 tonnes of carbon. This project in Thurles is another important step along the way to meeting our target of 50% energy efficiency improvement by 2030.

Glan Agua MEIC Ltd delivered this project on behalf of Irish Water, with the works completed in December 2020.

This follows a similar project in Nenagh Wastewater Treatment Plant in 2019 where the installation of 118 solar panels on the grounds of the plant has reduced carbon emissions there by 15 tonnes per year.

For more on the project check out the Thurles Regional Water Supply Scheme project page.

Irish Water continues to work at this time with our Local Authority partners, contractors and others to safeguard the health and well-being of both staff and the public and to ensure the continuity of critical drinking water and wastewater services. Irish Water would like to remind people to follow the HSE COVID-19 advice and ensure frequent handwashing.