Work has begun on a community owned solar energy rooftop project at the Geraint Thomas National Velodrome in Newport, the largest solar rooftop project of its kind in Wales with over 2,000 solar panels set to be installed.
The Welsh Government Energy Service, in partnership with Sustainable Communities Wales and the Wales Co-operative Centre has completed a detailed feasibility study which will lead to a reduction of Newport City Council’s carbon emissions by 348 tonnes per year. Some electricity will also be exported onto the grid for use in the city.
Working in collaboration with Egni Co-op, the project at the National Velodrome is part of Newport City Council’s wider plan to install 6,000 solar panels on 21 council owned buildings across the city, with a target of becoming a carbon neutral organisation by 2030. The solar panels will generate a combined total of 1,973,000 units of clean renewable electricity per year with most of the electricity generated being used on site.
Jim Cardy, Senior Manager for Welsh Government Energy Service, said: “This project is a fantastic example of community energy groups working closely with a Local Authority partner in Wales to tackle the climate emergency. The Welsh Government Energy Service is driving the project as it supports local people to invest and benefit from the transition to green energy, whilst also contributing towards the public sector ambition of being carbon neutral by 2030.”
Cllr. Deb Davies, Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, said: “Following the successful installation of solar panels across 19 of our buildings so far, it’s exciting to see work commence at the Velodrome site. Our ambition of becoming carbon neutral by 2030 is a key tenant of our pledge to build a better Newport, and the renewable energy that the Velodrome will produce is a positive step towards meeting that ambition.”
Rosie Gillam, Egni Co-op Director said “This has been a great partnership project and demonstrates that energy co-ops can work at this scale as this is the largest rooftop solar array in Wales. And the Velodrome is more than a just a cycling venue. During the COVID-19 crisis, the Velodrome has been working with Aneurin Bevan University Health Board to support the recovery of formerly ventilated COVID-19 patients post discharge. The Programme, the first of its kind in Wales, gets patients back to where they want to be, both mentally and physically.
We’d like to thank all our co-op members who helped make this happen and invite more people to join us. And now that Welsh cyclists will be powered by sunbeams, we hope they’ll go even faster!”
The National Velodrome has already demonstrated its green credentials, with a state-of-the-art LED floodlight system having been fitted to the velodrome track with support from Welsh Government Energy Service. The system has not only reduced energy consumption but also provided a hugely improved facility offering, with LED lighting at a standard to host professional level racing. The system can also be dimmed to save energy when in public use. LED lighting will also be fitted across the rest of the National Velodrome over the next year, with an estimated saving of 750 tonnes of carbon over the lifetime of the lights, equivalent to the average annual energy output for 190 homes.
Notes to editors:
Newport City Council – solar project background
In addition to the project at the National Velodrome, schools, a council depot and care homes have also been identified. Once installed the solar panels will generate a combined total of 1,973,000 units of clean renewable electricity per year.
Most of the electricity generated will be used on site, reducing the council’s carbon emissions by 348 tonnes per year. Some electricity will also be exported to the grid for use in the city.
The solar panels in Newport have been funded by a loan from the Development Bank of Wales and Egni’s ongoing co-op share offer, which has raised £1.94m to date.
About Welsh Government Energy Service
The Welsh Government Energy Service provides free technical, commercial and procurement support to develop energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. The energy service helps with financial planning and funding, for example interest free loans and grants.
About Egni Co-op
Egni Co-op is a community organisation which funds and manages PV installations in Wales. It was set up by Awel Aman Tawe (AAT), a community energy charity which has been operating for 20 years. Our prime drivers are tackling climate change and engaging people in energy.
About Geraint Thomas Velodrome of Wales
The Geraint Thomas National Velodrome of Wales is one of five internationally recognised indoor velodromes in Britain and played host to Team GB and Paralympics GB training camps ahead of four previous Olympic and Paralympic games.