Renewable energy company Dulas has delivered the National Trust’s largest solar panel installation in the UK.
The Machynlleth-based firm, one of the oldest renewables companies in the UK, has worked closely with the heritage body to install photo-voltaic panels at the eighteenth century Grade 1 listed property in Llanerchaeron, Ceredigion.
The workers’ co-operative, which installed the first ever off-grid solar panels in the UK, has been in the renewable energy industry for 30 years. It employs 100 people with a turnover of £22m in 2010.
The installation at the villa, originally designed in the 1790s, should generate up to half of the electricity the house requires.
An installation of this type needs to complement its surroundings so Dulas advised using a ground-mounted array in the grounds of the property.
The project is part of the National Trust’s commitment to reducing its reliance on fossil fuels by 50 per cent within the next eight years.
It aims to cut carbon emissions from energy use for heat and electricity by 45 per cent, bettering the Government’s target of a 34 per cent reduction in CO² by 2020.
Dulas has also provided a full planning consultancy service for multiple solar PV sites across the National Trust portfolio in Wales.
In the last month, the business has also successfully delivered biomass wood fuel heating systems for the National Trust at both Stackpole in Pembrokeshire and South Pilton Green on the Gower, replacing ageing boilers with space-saving solutions.
These projects further build upon Dulas’ relationship with the National Trust, having installed multi-technology systems at their flagship project for sustainability, Gibson’s Mill, as well as biomass at Dinefwr in Carmarthenshire.
Mike Clay, marketing manager of Dulas, said the solar project at Llanerchaeron would bring considerable benefits for the Trust.
“By taking forward-thinking steps and engaging with a highly experienced company the Trust has been able to best utilise the space available to gain maximum benefit from the feed-in tariff,” he said.
“By prioritising the installation Dulas was able to commission the project in time to take advantage of the highest feed-in tariff rates, providing the best possible financial rate of returns for the Trust.
“Despite post-12 December changes to feed-in tariff payments, the falling costs of installations still make solar PV a viable and rewarding renewable option.”
The Trust has also made a pledge to take care of the environment by reducing energy and water use and substantially cutting dependence on energy sources outside its estate and by developing its own energy sources.
Key in achieving this has been the use of biomass technology which Dulas has taken the lead in delivering.
Keith Jones, Environmental Practices Advisor for the National Trust said: “We have been delighted with the contribution Dulas has been giving to our carbon reduction and sustainability programmes using solar and biomass technologies.”
“Their experience has added value as we try to overcome the challenges of installing these technologies within our historic buildings and valuable landscapes.”
“They have worked with us to deliver the bespoke solutions and we were impressed by their ability to install our first large-scale solar PV system within the very tight feed-in tariff deadline.”