The winner of the Sustainable Building Project of the Year at the Sustainable Ireland Awards (2018), the Dunore Point Water Treatment Works (WTW) Solar Farm is expected to save NI Water (NIW) £0.5m annually in energy costs. Our upgrade works (civil engineering, and mechanical, electrical, instrumentation, controls, automation [MEICA]) included the design, construction, commissioning and testing of a 6.5-Megawatt grid connected to a solar photovoltaic system, and a complementary development programme within the lands of Dunore Point WTW. Located on the Lough Neagh foreshore, the 33-acre site, which now accommodates 23,936 solar panels, is helping NIW to achieve its target of increasing electricity consumption from renewable sources to 40% by 2021 (from a benchmark of 13%).
This "landmark" project is helping NIW to become "more energy efficient" while "making cost savings" to its business operations. Our accelerated programme was delivered ten days ahead of schedule, which, importantly, enabled NIW to avail of Renewable Obligation Certificates.
The design and procurement of the NIE Networks Control Building and NIW's Substation commenced in early September 2017, before construction began. Subsequently, engineering works on the 33-acre solar farm were initiated in mid-December 2017 and completed, within the agreed budget, on 12th March.
23,936 solar panels, delivered from China, were installed on the steel structures of the solar farm and supported by 4,352 steel piles. As part of the project, two 15t 2,200kVA Transformers, one 15tn 1,800 kVA Transformer, and a 33kV Containerised Substation were designed, built and installed.
All underground cables were nominated and approved based on their efficiency and lowest possible voltage loss. Demonstrating the complexity, connection to the grid demanded a directional drilling programme, instead of "open cut", under the Dunore River.
"The Dunore Point Solar Farm is a major step towards reaching our goal of increasing electricity consumption from renewable sources. Dunore is one of many innovative renewable energy projects which NI Water is developing to ensure we become more energy efficient while also making cost savings to our business."