Belfast Telegraph

NI Water begins work on huge 33-acre solar farm

Work has commenced on a £7m Northern Ireland Water solar farm on the shore of the Lough Neagh.

The work will see 27,000 solar panels built on a 33-acre site.

The facility will support the firm's Dunmore Water Treatment works near to Belfast International Airport in south Antrim, and is a step towards using more renewable sources for the government-owned company.

NI Water is the region's largest user of electricity, with the Dunmore facility accounting for 7% of the company's annual usage.

It is expected work on the site will be finished by 2018, and will save the company £500,000 a year in energy costs.

NI Water's CEO Sara Venning said: “As the largest user of electricity in Northern Ireland, we are committed to limiting our impact on the environment.

"NI Water expects to increase our electricity consumption from renewable sources from currently around 13% to 40% in 2020/21. This project will make a significant contribution towards our ability to achieve that stretching goal."

Construction of the solar farm will also provide a boost to the local economy, with around 30 people employed from GRAHAM Construction throughout the course of the contract.

Once completed, NI Water anticipates the solar farm will allow them to contribute spare capacity to the national grid.

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