Video report by ITV Wales rural affairs correspondent Hannah Thomas
The UK’s first hospital-owned solar farm has supplied more energy than previously thought, fully powering Morriston Hospital in Swansea for 50 hours.
Swansea University Health Board confirmed the £5.7 million Brynwhillach solar farm met 100% of the hospital’s demand for 50 hours straight, despite it only operating during the shortest days of the year.
The hospital has already saved an estimated £120,000 in electricity bills since the farm was switched on in November, and it is projected to save 1,000 tonnes of carbon and £500,000 per year in bills when fully operational.
It has so far produced 30,000 kWh surplus energy that has been sold back to the energy grid at a profit to the hospital.
Chair of Swansea University Health Board, Emma Woollett, said: “I am delighted that the solar farm’s performance has already exceeded our initial expectations.
“The health board’s aim is to reduce its carbon footprint and maximise opportunities to use renewable energy sources.
“The solar farm will play an important part in achieving that aim, but there is also an additional benefit in terms of cost savings.
“It is not only lowering our electricity costs every day, but on some days covering 100% of our electricity needs.
“With the current volatile situation with energy prices, this really shows that the investment and the long-term thinking on behalf of the health board has paid off.”
The Brynwhillach solar farm was built with money from a loan scheme set up by the Welsh Government and is linked to Morriston Hospital by a 3km private wire.
The Welsh Government’s minister for climate change Julie James said: “We want our energy to come from community owned and locally-run renewable energy sources in Wales.
“This will ensure our supply is resilient, reliable and reasonable for both our planet and our pockets.
“We have bold ambitions to decarbonise the public sector by 2030. Morriston Hospital - which depends not only on the powers of staff, but also the energy-hungry machines to keep patients alive and well - has blazed the trail in the switch to renewables, which makes sense both financially and to the health of the people of Wales.
“Our addiction to fossil fuels is proving harmful, volatile and no longer viable. In Wales we will continue to accelerate our investment in renewable energy and energy efficient measures such as those adopted at Morriston Hospital, and call on the UK Government to support a socially just transition to Net Zero as we respond to the climate emergency.
“The IPCC have rung the clarion call for our planet, now we must listen and respond to the science.”