Panasonic panels scoop national energy award for “Modern Art” solar array
The National Trust has won a national energy award for a unique solar PV project, which has been compared to an art installation, on a hillside at one of its most popular gardens in North Wales.
The solar array, at Bodnant Garden in the Conwy Valley, was successful in the category of national small scale project of the year at the energy efficiency and retrofit awards in Birmingham.
The 50kw system generates around 43,000kWh of electricity at the site, which sees over 200,000 visitors each year. It powers the on-site Pavilion Café along with two electric vehicle charging points in the neighbouring overflow car park and recharges the batteries of power tools used in the gardens.
The 175 panels, laid on a curve in the hillside, were made by Panasonic as part of its partnership with the National Trust. The money saved from energy bills will directly fund the trust’s conservation work.
Paul Southall, environmental advisor at the National Trust, said: “Every trust property has its own unique spirit, and we’ve got to make sure that whatever we install is appropriate in the right place.
"Bodnant Garden has had 212,000 visitors this year and when the sun is shining our visitors are here so this system makes a perfect match. The success of this scheme is down to the collaborative approach between the property staff, the designer and installer Carbonzero renewables, and the team at Panasonic, who all worked to ensure the finished system sat appropriately within its environment.”
Louise Hirst, Panasonic key accounts manager, said: “Panasonic is proud to receive this award and grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with the National Trust on their renewable energy project at Bodnant Garden.”
“The project has been a great success, and demonstrates historical and challenging sites can be successfully and sensitively converted to renewable energy. These schemes are also helping the National Trust to realise its energy efficiency goals. Panasonic values the opportunity to play a part in the preservation of our heritage and hopes to be involved in many more projects moving forward.”
The trust is also undertaking a £33m Renewable Energy Investment (REI) Programme, supported by the charity’s renewable energy partner Good Energy, to develop over 40 renewables projects across the country involving heat pumps, biomass and solar power and help generate 50 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.
The trust recently replaced oil-fired heating systems with biomass at Killerton House, Devon and Nunnington Hall, on the edge of the North Yorkshire moors. A hydro-powered scheme near Bethesda in Snowdonia will produce enough electricity to supply 121 homes for a year, offsetting 246 tonnes of CO2.
The National Trust
The National Trust looks after more than 250,000 hectares of countryside, 775 miles of coastline and hundreds of special places across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. For more information and ideas for great value family days out go to: www.nationaltrust.org.uk
Panasonic entered into a corporate partnership with National Trust in October 2014. The purpose of the relationship is to provide technology solutions to enhance the visitor experience and support the Trust in their tireless efforts to preserve and maintain its sites.