The University of Aberystwyth invests £3.4m in green initiatives

The University of Aberystwyth set to develop solar array and progress energy efficiency projects as part of plans to be carbon neutral by 2030

The University of Aberystwyth is set to become one of the greenest campuses in Wales after investment in multiple energy saving initiatives and development of its own solar farm.

In the last year, Aberystwyth has invested more than £3.4m in energy efficiency projects including upgrades to energy efficient lighting, installation of energy management systems and improvements to pipework insulation – saving the university £350, 000 a year and 900 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Over £1.8m of project funding has come from a partnership between Salix Finance and the Welsh government. This partnership aims to provide interest-free government funding to the public sector in support of the development of energy efficient technologies. Salix Finance loans are to be paid back over several years from the university’s energy bills savings, making these projects 100% cost neutral.

The remainder of funding has come from The University of Aberystwyth’s own capital, and a grant from the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW).

As a key employer and landowner in the region, we are committed to doing everything we can to reduce our energy consumption and decarbonise our operations – Neil Glasser, The University of Aberystwyth

Aberystwyth will be one of the first universities to develop its own full scale solar array. The £2.9m solar farm is expected to cut the campus’ annual energy bills by over £320,000 and reduce energy carbon bills by 8% per year, as part of a wider plan to become carbon neutral by 2030.

The university’s 2.5-megawatt solar array, which is due to begin development in February 2022, will see approximately 5000 panels across a four-hectare facility. The array is anticipated to generate approximately 25% of annual electricity requirements of the university’s Penglais campus, saving Aberystwyth £18m in electricity costs over its lifetime. The project is set to be supported by Salix and the Wales Funding Programme with a £2.6m loan.

Aberystwyth says its investment in energy-saving initiatives has benefitted the local area, with a large proportion of work being carried out by local suppliers and contractors to benefit the local economy.

Neil Glasser, pro-vice chancellor at The University of Aberystwyth said: “As a key employer and landowner in the region, we are committed to doing everything we can to reduce our energy consumption and decarbonise our operations so that we carry out our activities in an environmentally responsible and sustainable way.

“We have invested in multiple energy efficient technologies, conducted research into carbon reduction, and are now looking to make use of the land we own to create our own renewable energy through solar power, all of which will help support our pledge to become carbon neutral by 2030.”

Photo: © Scott Waby

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