Sunny future for Swansea Bay solar farm

Brynwhillach Solar Farm begins exporting zero-carbon electricity to Morriston Hospital as project officially goes live

The new solar farm will reduce carbon emissions by around 20,000 tonnes a year

The Swansea Bay University Health Board solar farm has reached an exciting milestone after the 10,000 solar panels installed by Vital Energi went live and began exporting electricity to Morriston Hospital.

The installation will generate 4MW of zero-carbon electricity for the hospital and will reduce the health board’s carbon emissions by around 20,000 tonnes over the lifecycle of the project.

Scott Lutton, operations director for the North & Scotland, at Vital Energi, said: “This is a very-important project for both the health board, and the NHS in general, as it will be the first Welsh hospital to receive its electricity from a dedicated solar farm and, in addition to the large carbon savings, the hospital will reduce its energy spend by £439,000 per year.

“As energy security is paramount to the NHS, the solar farm underwent a rigorous testing period and met all the requirements of the local distribution network operator.

“Once it successfully passed these requirements the system went live and is now supplying zero-carbon electricity to the hospital.”

Vital Energi has also installed the supporting electrical infrastructure and 3km private wire network which will connect the solar farm to the hospital site.

This is a very-important project for both the health board, and the NHS in general, as it will be the first Welsh hospital to receive its electricity from a dedicated solar farm

Des Keighan, assistant director of operations at the health board, said: “The project presented a number of challenges. However, the health board’s project team, together with Vital Energi, was able to overcome these and deliver the UK’s first dedicated solar farm with private wire, supplying carbon free electricity to a large acute hospital.

“The health board takes its environmental responsibilities seriously and is committed to reducing its carbon footprint and this development demonstrates our commitment to the Welsh Government’s target of net-zero carbon by 2030.”

This is the second energy project Vital Energi has delivered for the health board, after phase one saw the company deliver a range of energy conservation measures which reduced carbon emissions by 2,476 tonnes per year, while generating £870,000 of annual cost savings.

Both projects were procured through the RE:FIT framework and come with an energy performance contract which guarantees performance, financial, and carbon targets.

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