Low-Carbon Future Looks Bright for 4MW Swansea Solar Farm

Vital Energi will be delivering a new 4MW solar PV installation for Swansea Bay University Health Board at Brynwhilach in a partnership which will reduce the Health Board’s carbon emissions by over 20,000 tonnes.

The solar farm, which is being delivered through the Re:fit framework, will see almost 10,000 PV panels installed over an area of 20,000m² and, when operational, will supply over 3.5 million kWh of zero-carbon electricity to Morriston Hospital via a 3km private wire network. In addition to the carbon reduction the project will save £439,000 per annum in electricity costs.

Our health board takes seriously our responsibilities to future generations by reducing our environmental impact and in particular cutting our carbon footprint and reducing our costs is a win-win for the Health Board, our patients and taxpayers.

Emma Woollett, Swansea Bay UHB Chair

The first phase was a range of energy conservation measures at Morriston and Singleton hospitals, and other Health Board premises. These included changing the majority of light fittings, and improving the insulation, lagging and upgrading building management systems. The second phase is the development of the solar farm, which will enable us to produce our own electricity. This is in line with the Welsh Government’s commitment for the public sector to be carbon neutral by 2030. We will be the first Health Board in Wales to develop its own solar farm. It has been very challenging. However, with a lot of hard work from our project team, which included the Welsh Government and other key partners, we have managed to secure the development.

Des Keighan, Health board Assistant Director of Operations

The exciting thing about this project is that it more than pays for itself and the profit it generates can be allocated to delivering front-line clinical services. By offering a long-term energy performance contract on the project we can bring a level of certainty to the Health Board’s budget and decarbonisation plans.

Phil Mottershead, Project Development Director, Vital Energi

This marks another significant investment in carbon reduction and the Welsh Government and Swansea Bay University Health Board should be congratulated on their on-going commitment to decarbonisation.

Scott Lutton, Vital Energi Operations Director, North & Scotland

The energy conservation measures have been carried out throughout 2020 and will be completed early next year.

Work on the solar farm development is due to start in the early part of 2021 and should be operational by the end of the summer.

All financial, carbon and electrical generation targets are guaranteed by Vital Energi under a 20-year energy performance contract which ensures the scheme will perform as designed.  In addition to designing and installing the solar farm, Vital Energi will also undertake long-term operation and maintenance duties on the project.

The Welsh Government were the first in the UK to pass a Climate Emergency Declaration and have set a target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.  Swansea Bay University Health Board have a long-term carbon reduction strategy in place and the solar farm is the second stage of works undertaken through the Re:fit framework.  Phase 1 saw Vital Energi work in partnership with the Health Board to deliver a range of energy conservation measures which reduce carbon emissions by 2,476 tonnes per annum whilst delivering energy cost savings of £870,000 per year.

The project is being supported by the Welsh Government and Salix funding.  Work will begin on site in February 2021 with completion scheduled for July 2021.