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Leader Funds Help Turn Neath Port Talbot Green

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Egni Coop and Regenerate NPT in Neath Port Talbot have announced that five sites in the borough have been commissioned with solar panels and a sixth is imminent.

Egni Director Rosie Gillam said:

We have completed five installs for which we received LEADER feasibility funding.  A total of 137kW of solar will 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 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 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 it 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, added:

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 the fund.

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 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 1,000-plus coop members of about £300,000, 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 Power 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.

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Chris has joined the team as editor having worked as deputy to the business editor of the Western Mail and Walesonline. He also edited the regular Business in Wales magazine and the weekly Country and Farming supplement of the Western Mail and was previously editorial coordinator for the Go Green environmental supplement.

Originally from Essex, Chris spent much of his childhood in Abergavenny before returning to south-east England in his late teens. He studied Politics and International Relations at the University of Kent and worked in London for many years where he trained as a journalist.

Chris returned to South Wales in the early 2000s to raise a family. His interests include business and the environment.

 

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