Cornwall New Energy facilitates solar investment for Telegraph Museum Porthcurno

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 31st installations.

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,"