Morriston Hospital in Swansea has become the first in the UK to be directly powered by its own solar farm, setting the bar for other hospitals and schools in Wales to follow suit.
The £5.7m solar farm was built thanks to a loan scheme set up by the Welsh Government to decarbonise the public sector by 2030, and is repayable on an invest to save basis.
The solar farm is surpassing expectations by providing enough electricity to not only contribute to the daily power needs of the hospital but also to cover 100% of its demand for 50 hours.
It was originally hoped the solar farm would save about £480,000 in energy costs, but the rise in the electricity prices could mean that future savings could now be closer to £1m. So far the hospital has saved £120,000 in electricity bills and is projected to save 1,000 tonnes of carbon and £500,000 per year in bills.
At the start of the project, electricity prices were around £0.13 per kilowatt hour (kWh) from the National Grid.
The 4MW project on Brynwhillach Farm, is linked to Morriston hospital by a 3km private wire.
Welsh Government’s Minister for Climate Change Julie James said:
“We want our energy to come from community owned and locally run renewable energy sources in Wales.
“This will ensure our supply is resilient, reliable and reasonable for both our planet and our pockets.
“We have bold ambitions to decarbonise the public sector by 2030. Morriston Hospital – depends not only on the powers of their staff but also the energy-hungry machines to keep their patients alive and well – have blazed the trail in their switch to renewables, which makes sense both financially and to the health of the people of Wales.