Bannau Brycheiniog National Park driving forward plans to be energy positive

SOLAR panels are driving forward Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority’s ambition of becoming energy positive.

The newly installed panels at the Authority’s depot at Brecon Industrial Estate have captured enough power from the sun to drive an electric car 1374 miles, from Lands End to John O’Groats, taking in every UK National Park on the way.

And now work is underway to upgrade the current solar panels at Cwm Porth Information Point and bring solar panels to Craig y Nos Visitor Centre.

The panels at the Authority’s depot in Brecon were installed at the end of January. Between February 1st and March 1st they produced enough energy to power a 100 watt light bulb continuously for 150 days, a staggering 361kwh.

The data for March appears even more encouraging, with the panels generating almost 500 kWh in three weeks.

“That’s a total saving of £80 on our energy bill in two months,” said IT Systems and Fleet Officer Kevin Booker, who has been overseeing the installation of electric car charging points in Authority car parks. “Thanks to the Green Growth Fund we will be replacing two of our fleet cars with two fully electric cars as well as adding a hybrid vehicle towards the end of spring.”

Deputy Chair for the Authority Gareth Ratcliffe was surprised at how much energy was generated during the very bleak month of February.

“To see these benefits after just one month was staggering,” he said. “The energy generated from these panels, which covers just 54 square meters, could power 360 washing machine cycles. We recognise the impacts of climate change and want to lead by example. Our efforts to become more self-sufficient could see us meeting our aim of becoming energy positive by 2030, meaning we generate more energy than we use. I am really encouraged by the significant energy savings from a relatively small solar project.”