Over 2,000 solar panels to be installed in a community-owned scheme

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WORK has begun on a community-owned solar energy rooftop project at the Geraint Thomas National Velodrome in Newport, the largest solar rooftop project of its kind in Wales with over 2,000 solar panels set to be installed.

The Welsh Government Energy Service, in partnership with Sustainable Communities Wales and the Wales Co-operative Centre has completed a detailed feasibility study which will lead to a reduction of Newport City Council’s carbon emissions by 348 tonnes per year.

Some electricity will also be exported onto the grid for use in the city.

Jim Cardy, senior manager for Welsh Government Energy Service, commented on the plans: “This project is a fantastic example of community energy groups working closely with a local authority partner in Wales to tackle the climate emergency.

“The Welsh Government Energy Service is driving the project as it supports local people to invest and benefit from the transition to green energy, whilst also contributing towards the public sector ambition of being carbon neutral by 2030.”

Working in collaboration with Egni Co-op, the project at the National Velodrome is part of Newport City Council’s wider plan to install 6,000 solar panels on 21 council-owned buildings across the city, with a target of becoming a carbon neutral organisation by 2030.

The solar panels will generate a combined total of 1,973,000 units of clean renewable electricity per year with most of the electricity generated being used on site.

Cllr Deb Davies, cabinet member for sustainable development, added: “Following the successful installation of solar panels across 19 of our buildings so far, it’s exciting to see work commence at the Velodrome site.

“Our ambition of becoming carbon neutral by 2030 is a key tenant of our pledge to build a better Newport, and the renewable energy that the Velodrome will produce is a positive step towards meeting that ambition.”

The National Velodrome has already demonstrated its green credentials, with a ‘state-of-the-art’ LED floodlight system having been fitted to the velodrome track with support from Welsh Government Energy Service.

The system has not only reduced energy consumption but also provided ‘a hugely improved facility offering’, with LED lighting at a standard to host professional level racing.

The system can also be dimmed to save energy when in public use.

LED lighting will also be fitted across the rest of the National Velodrome over the next year, with an estimated saving of 750 tonnes of carbon over the lifetime of the lights, equivalent to the average annual energy output for 190 homes.