Egni Coop and Regenerate NPT in Neath Port Talbot have announced that 5 sites in the Borough have been commissioned with solar panels and a sixth is imminent!
Egni Director, Rosie Gillam said “We have completed 5 installs for which we received LEADER feasibility funding. A total of 137kW of solar have been installed – this will save about 26 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. The solar panels will also save many thousands of pounds in energy costs for these crucial local buildings. Community facilities such as Cymer Afan Library are vital – one of the many important things they do is provide a food bank during the coronavirus – so all money saved on bills, helps ensure their sustainability.
The six Leader sites in NPT are Cymer Afan Community Library, Cwmgors Rugby Club, Cwmllynfell Hall, Crynant Community Hall and Hwb y Gors. We’re also going to fit a massive 50kW on Cymer Pool in the next few weeks – so the water will be lovely and warm, and the pool will be powered by the sun when the pool reopens to the public! We funded the capital costs of the solar panel installations through our coop share offer which has raised £1.9m so far – we ourselves are based in Neath Port Talbot so this is a significant overall boost to the green economy.”
Len Preece, Chair of Regenerate NPT said “These are key community hubs which we are delighted to support with clean energy. LEADER funding has helped leverage in over £150,000 of capital funding to fit the solar panels, so it’s a very good use of LEADER funding. The 6 sites offer a range of support to their local communities including: youth clubs, gyms, sports halls and education and training facilities. Many of these organisations are run and/or managed by the communities and their volunteers, so it’s wonderful that we have been able to support them in this way”.
Dan McCallum, Egni co-director added “We’ve already got a number of other solar sites in Neath Port Talbot including Dove Workshops, Glynneath Training Centre, Seven Sisters Community Centre, Me Myself and I, NPTCVS, Owain Glyndwr Centre, Cwmafan Community Centre and Cadoxton Community Centre. In total, that’s a stonking 266kW of solar panels on key community buildings and represents an investment from our 1000+ coop members of about £300k, making NPT super green …but there’s a lot more to do!
We’d like to thank the 6 community organisations themselves and Neath Port Talbot Council who own several of the sites – there’s been a lot of work sorting out leases, doing asbestos surveys, structural surveys, getting agreement from the grid operator Western Power Distribution, to get to this point of successful installs. Our installers on these sites, Ice Solar and Urban Solar, have also been excellent throughout and have done high quality work.
We’d also like to thank staff at Peter Lynn and Partners, our lawyers, whose work isn’t so public – they help to draw up and finalise leases which are unique to the property circumstances of each site and ensure they are agreeable to all parties. Not to be underestimated!”
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.
The team behind Egni have also delivered the award-winning Awel Co-op, a 4.7MW community wind farm which was commissioned in Jan 2017. It was funded by a £5.25m loan from Triodos Bank and a £3m community share offer www.awel.coop.
Egni won Outstanding Renewable Energy Project in an award sponsored by Welsh Government last month https://www.sustainableacademy.wales/2019/12/02/winners-of-wales-sustainability-academy-awards-announced/ & Awel Aman Tawe was recognised as Environmental Organisation of the Year in the Social Enterprise UK Awards – https://www.socialenterprise.org.uk/winners-of-the-uk-social-enterprise-awards-2019/
Regenerate Neath Port Talbot is the local partnership that is delivering the Rural Development Plan in Neath Port Talbot Council. The programme is jointly funded by the European Union as part of the Common Agricultural Policy through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, and the Welsh Government.
The term given to the ‘partnership’ is ‘Local Action Group’ and it is made up of members from the public, private and voluntary sectors. In Neath Port Talbot the LAG – Regenerate NPT, is responsible for overseeing our local LEADER programme. The LAG is made up of representatives from a wide range of organisations throughout the areas of NPT and Wales. The LAG is there to target the priority areas for NPT and to support the development of grass root projects that directly address these priority areas.