National Trust commits to solar power

The National Trust has demonstrated its support for the UK solar power industry by commissioning renewable energy consultants Dulas to deliver its biggest solar panel installation yet.

The works at the National Trust’s Grade 1 listed villa Llanerchaeron, Wales is expected to generate up to half of the electricity the property requires, with installation reaching completion before the cut to Feed In-Tariffs (FITs) came into force last month (December 12).

As a result of the age of the property, which was built in the 18th Century, a ground-mounted array of photovoltaics panels (PV) was installed in the grounds of the property by Dulas, which is also carrying out consultancy work across the Trust’s entire Welsh portfolio.

Dulas marketing manager Mike Clay, said that it prioritised the project commission in time to “take advantage of the highest feed in tariff rates providing the best possible financial rate of returns for the Trust”.

The latest project forms part of the National Trust’s commitment to reducing its use of fossil fuel by 50% by 2020 by cutting carbon emissions from energy use for heat and electricity by 45%.

It has also pledged to reduce energy and water use, as well as cutting its dependence on energy sources outside of the Trust’s estates by developing its own energy sources using biomass technology.

National Trust environmental practices advisor Keith Jones, said: “We have been delighted with the contribution that Dulas have been giving to our carbon reduction and sustainability programmes using solar and biomass technologies.

“Their experience has added value as we try to overcome the challenges of installing these technologies within our historic buildings and valuable landscapes. They have worked with us to deliver the bespoke solutions and were impressed by their ability to install our first large scale solar PV system within the very tight Feed-in Tariff deadline.”

In a separate victory for the solar industry in Wales, solar company The Green Home Company (TGHC) expanded its facilities in Bridgend, generating about 80 new jobs.

TGHC executive chairman Alan Proto, said: “We are positive about the future of the solar industry in the UK and believe it can flourish and play an important part in meeting out renewable energy targets and our news is a tangible sign of a positive future for the sector”.

Carys Matthews

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