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Irony Alert! British Coal Mining Museum Switches to Solar Power

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Wales’s Big Pit National Coal Museum may be devoted to one of the most environmentally damaging sources of energy — and housed in a former coal mine — but that doesn’t mean it can’t be more responsible than the industry whose history it celebrates. Big Pit recently installed 200 solar panels, Renewable Energy World reports, which will provide the institution with some $650,000 worth of power over the next quarter century.

“Coal is such an important part of Wales’ heritage and yet green energy will play a major part in its future,” Big Pit manager Peter Walker told Renewable Energy World. “A solar powered coal-mining museum is a fantastic way to celebrate this national journey. But it’s far from just symbolic — the museum will benefit from huge reductions in energy bills and a solid return from the feed-in tariff.”

The Big Pit — which owes its name to its unusually wide conical mine shaft, which is 300 feet deep — operated from the 19th century through 1980, when it closed, laying off its remaining 250 employees. It reopened as a museum three years later following extensive construction and retrofitting. Its new solar array marks its latest evolution.

— Benjamin Sutton

(Image via Big Pit on Facebook.)

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  1. by Bill Woodhouse

    Having installed a PV installation in the so-called sunny south and watched its performance this last summer, we are unamused to see that something near peak performance when the sun is shining on the panels drops by some 75% if a cloud crosses the path of the sun. Now that we’re into the winter months the performance is pathetic.

    We are told by the PV industry that in the three winter months you can only expect 8% of the annual output. When is energy most required if it is not in the three winter months? If it were not for the over generous feed in tariffs, paid for by all other electricity users there would not be a PV installation installed in this country.

    If ever a scheme had been devised to rob poor Peter, without the capital to install PV, to pay rich Paul, who can afford it, this has to be it. Not very socialist is it?

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