Solar Powered Coal Mining for National Museum Wales’ Big Pit

Wales’ national coal mining museum is now benefitting from solar energy following the installation of PV panels.

Big Pit, one of Wales’ biggest tourist attractions and part of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, is also a working coal mine. Whilst coal is at the heart of the museum’s existence, from now on 6.35% of its energy will be green.

The museum has installed 200 photovoltaic solar panels on the roof of the Big Pit museum building in Blaenafon, South Wales. They have also fitted a further 200 panels to the roof of the National Collection Centre in Nantgarw. The panels will generate electricity, 100% of which will be used on the site and any surplus fed into the grid to earn additional funds for the museum.

Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales will make savings of around 5million kWh over 25 years and also benefit from the Feed in Tariff for this period.

Peter Walker, Museum Manager at Big Pit, said “Coal is such an important part of Wales’ heritage and yet green energy will play a major part in its future. A solar powered coal mining museum is a fantastic way to celebrate this national journey. But it’s far from just symbolic – the museum will benefit from huge reductions in energy bills and a solid return from the Feed in Tariff.”

Craig Anderson, Projects Director at Warm Wales Cymru Gynnes who project managed the scheme added “In bringing together a major contributor to our Welsh heritage with new technology, here at Big Pit, we’re demonstrating to all that even the most traditional of industries can gain substantial benefits through integrating the old and the new.”

Mark Richards, Director of Operations and Deputy Director General for Amgueddfa Cymru, commented “As a working coal mine we are here to celebrate one of the world’s oldest energy sources and an enormously important aspect of Welsh heritage. But it is important to look to, and plan for, the future – which is why we are delighted to be generating green electricity here at Big Pit. The new solar PV systems will help us cut both our bills and our carbon footprint, allowing us to reinvest the savings and earnings back into the museum.”

The new system is set to help save 44,813kg of CO2, which will significantly reduce Amgueddfa Cymru’s carbon footprint.

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