The future’s bright at Magna Science Adventure Centre where solar panels covering an area equivalent to half a football pitch are saving thousands of pounds a year.
The 2,155 photovoltaic panels on the visitor attraction’s roof are expected to save £16,000 in electricity bills in the first year alone. And they are just the start of moves to become more sustainable, with plans for wind power and grey-water harvesting in the pipeline.
The solar panels, which were installed by Rotherham-based WS Systems, cover more than 3,000 square metres on the south-facing roof, making it one of the biggest solar photovoltaic projects in the region.
Scott Newhouse, chief operating officer at WS Systems, said: “The project was always going to be challenging working with a building that is over 100 years old, but we overcame all the obstacles.
“It makes sense for businesses to use their roofs to save money and slowly more and more are turning to solar power to cut their electricity bills.”
There are approximately 6,700 photovoltaic installations in Yorkshire and Humber, generating over 20 Megawatts of electricity, with just under half the installations in South Yorkshire. Most of them are on houses.
Electricity generated by solar panels can be used by the business or householder and any excess is fed back into the National Grid. Since April 2010 electricity suppliers pay the generator a Feed in Tariff (FIT) for that electricity. In the first three months of this year alone that amounted to more than £4.4m across the UK.
But for Magna it is not just saving money that matters. “We will be saving about 92 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year,” said James Smith, facilities manager at Magna.
“But the energy we now receive from the solar panels is just the start of the sustainability plans we have in place. We are working with WS Systems and looking at erecting a 70 metre tall wind turbine near the coach park, because we get strong winds down the west side of the building. We also want to introduce grey-water harvesting, where we use rain water that runs off the roof to flush the 96 toilets.
“All this means not only could we save electricity and water, but also do our bit to save the planet.”
The green credentials of the visitor attraction are a far cry from the days when Magna’s site operated as a steelworks which was known locally as Steelos. Then there were six electric arc furnaces housed within the huge building with each melt using 750 million units of electricity – enough to power a small town such as Doncaster.
In contrast the electricity being generated at Magna by the solar panels could power about 40 average-sized homes.
NOTE TO NEWS EDITORS
For more information contact Joanna Dunn, Magna marketing manager, on 01709 723146 or 07846 608669 at email@example.com
Magna is the former Templeborough steel works transformed into an award-winning visitor attraction in 2001. It is located 2 minutes from junction 34, M1 and less than 1 mile from Meadowhall shopping centre. Magna has four hands on pavilions and one of the Europe’s largest outdoor play areas.
Magna Science Adventure Centre, Sheffield Road, Templeborough, Rotherham, S60 1DX Tel: 01709 720002 Fax: 01709 820092 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.visitmagna.co.uk