New solar farm to power Welsh hospital

Morriston Hospital set to reduce carbon emissions by 20,000 tonnes and save £439,000 a year

More than 10,000 solar panels are helping to power the hospital
More than 10,000 solar panels are helping to power the hospital

Morriston Hospital has become the first medical facility in Wales to receive its electricity from a dedicated solar farm.

Brynwhillach Solar Farm launched this week, exporting zero-carbon electricity to the hospital, which is operated by Swansea Bay University Health Board.

More than 10,000 solar panels have been installed by Vital Energi and these 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 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 a year.”

Energy security

He added: “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 also installed the supporting electrical infrastructure and 3km private wire network which will connect the solar farm to the hospital.

Des Keighan, assistant director of operations at the health board, said: “The project presented a number of challenges, however the 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.

Environmental responsibility

“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 1 saw the company deliver a range of energy conservation measures, which reduced carbon emissions by 2,476 tonnes per annum while generating £870,000 of cost savings per year.

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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