A member-owned renewable energy
enterprise has helped one of Cornwall's most historically significant sites to
realise its ambitions for a greener future with lower energy bills. The
Telegraph Museum Porthcurno expects to reduce its energy bills by around £3,500
a year, thanks to the installations of PV systems on two of their buildings by
the co-operative Community Power Cornwall.
The museum is based on what was
originally the largest telegraph station in the world, connecting Britain to
the whole world. Today, the Telegraph Museum Porthcurno is a vibrant and
captivating heritage attraction which is operated by a small charity called the
Porthcurno Collections Trust. The charity has held a long term ambition to
increase the sustainability of the museum through the reduction of energy costs
whilst significantly decreasing their impact on the environment.
Thanks to the European Funded
Cornwall New Energy project, the trust accessed help from the BRE National
Solar Centre and the Cornish energy advice charity Community Energy Plus to
assess the potential for renewable technologies on site and produce detailed
financial projections and funding options, including a Power Purchase agreement
from Community Power Cornwall.
The 50kW and 17kW solar PV system
will produce over 51,000 hours of clean green energy every year. This will save
over 18 tonnes of carbon from entering the atmosphere, or 350 tonnes over the
lifetime of the system. Between 80-90% of the electricity generated by the
solar panels are expected to be consumed on site which will help the museum to
be much more sustainable and resilient into the future.
Julia Twomlow, Museum Director,
explained the background to the project:
"We take our land management
responsibilities seriously and see the introduction of solar power to the
museum buildings as being part of that initiative around environmental
sustainability. Community Power Cornwall has enabled us to realise our
ambitions to embrace green technology. Without their support we would have
struggled to make the project happen. We anticipate that the PV will help us
reduce our energy bills by around £3,500 a year which is a significant saving
for a charity, and money which we can invest back into our education programme,
our exhibitions and the experiences that our visitors have with us."
Community Power Cornwall has been
active for 10 years developing renewable energy projects in local communities
and the solar panels at Porthcurno are the co-operative's 30th and
Neil Farrington, Director of
Community Power Cornwall, said:
"This project has been extremely
interesting but also challenging. The station is almost 150 years old and the
fragile listed buildings created some challenges for our installers ZLC Energy
who had to come up with some new design solutions to allow the PV system to
float above the roof of the building. We were also working in a tight timeframe
in order to access the Feed-in Tariff before the programme closed to new
developments at the end of March, so it was a big achievement to get the
installations completed on time,"