Live updates

£26m to 'turn buildings into power stations'

Credit: Ingo Wagner/DPA/PA Images

The Welsh Government's announced a £26m investment in the solar energy industry.

The cash, from the EU and Cardiff and Swansea Universities will be ploughed into research at the Port Talbot-based SPECIFIC Innovation and Knowledge Centre.

It aims to transform ‘buildings into power stations’ by enabling them to generate, store and release their own solar energy.

By combining affordable solar generation, storage and release technologies into an integrated system we’re offering a realistic low-risk, low-cost solution to our energy challenges.

At scale, the ‘buildings as power stations’ concept could deliver a significant reduction in gas heating, a reduction in the stress on the electrical grid at peak times, and a cheap, renewable source of energy for building owners and occupiers.

– Kevin Bygate, CEO of SPECIFIC

Welsh Govt hits back in Aberystwyth wind turbine row

The Welsh Government is under fire over a wind turbine that it built at its offices in Aberystwyth

A Freedom of Information request has revealed that the turbine cost £48,000, but it generates £5 of electricity a month.

The revelation came as the First Minister Carwyn Jones was officially opening a new super energy efficient house in west Wales.

The building, at Cilgerran in Pembrokeshire, is said to be so eco friendly that it will never have a gas or electricity bill.

Kevin Ashford reports.


Ten tips: saving energy if you're not in an eco home

  • Turn off unnecessary lights rather than leaving them on. Using TVs and appliances on 'standby' can waste electricity too
  • Use draught excluders for doors, windows and fireplaces
  • Increase loft insulation to limit the heat that escapes
  • When using a kettle, just boil the amount of water you need instead of filling it up!
  • Set your washing machines to operate at a lower temperature
  • Change your light bulbs for low-energy ones
  • For a shower that takes hot water from a boiler, replace your shower head with a more water-efficient one
  • Turn the thermostat down by even just one degree.
  • Take the opportunity of windy weather to dry laundry outside rather than in a tumble dryer
  • Consider cavity wall insulation to keep the heat in.

What's special about this Pembrokeshire eco home?

Specially treated timber is used throughout the house Credit: Western Solar Ltd
  • The home has a built in photovoltaic power supply, which uses sunlight to generate electricity.

  • The company behind the project says the house produces excess energy that can be fed back into the electricity grid, potentially earning its occupants up to £1,000 a year.

  • The windows are triple-glazed. The house is thoroughly insulated through out and features low-power LED lighting.

Revealed: The £75,000 house with no energy bills

The house is said to generate its own power and has an excess worth £1,000. Credit: Western Solar Ltd

A three bedroom house which costs £75,000 to build and will have no gas or electricity bills will be unveiled later today.

The company behind it, Western Solar Ltd, claims the cost of the build will also be recouped as the homes will generate £1,000 worth of excess electricity each year.

The low cost home which has been built in Pembrokeshire will initially only be constructed for Welsh housing associations.

Western Solar, which is based near Cardigan, says there is a long waiting list for the homes but they do plan on building a village of them in the near future.

The kitchen comes with the £75,000 price tag. Credit: Western Solar Ltd


Solar park permission depends on archaeological talks

Anglesey Council says an application for a major solar panel park at Bodorgan Estate has been approved, with the condition that talks between the developer and the local authority continue with the Gwynedd Archaeological Planning Service, to determine whether there are historical relics on the site.

The planning permission will be released once these talks have been resolved.

A solar farm at Cadland in the New Forest was switched on in July 2012 Credit: Chris Ison / PA Wire / Press Association Images

Major Anglesey solar panel project given go-ahead

A solar energy park - one of the biggest of its kind - has been approved by Anglesey Council's Planning Committee today. 64,000 panels generating 15 megawatts of power could now be put-up on a 75-acre site on the island's Bodorgan Estate.

Developers say the project could generate enough electricity to power 4,500 homes annually and connect to the National Grid via existing overhead lines.Anglesey's planning officer had recommended allowing the applicant, Bodorgan Environmental Management Ltd, to install the panels.

The site is currently used for silage and grazing sheep.