World heritage site solar panels save £5k

Solar panels on Fountains AbbeyImage source, Fountains Abbey
Image caption,

Fountains Abbey has installed solar panels to save money on energy bills

  • Published

A World Heritage Site has said it has saved £5,000 on its energy bills since it switched to solar power last year.

Fountains Abbey, near Ripon, had solar panels installed on its visitor centre in March 2023.

The panels, which cost £50,000, were integrated with the existing heat pumps in a bid to reduce carbon emissions.

The National Trust, which runs the estate, said the work was a win in terms of "both sustainability and finances".

The site’s general manager, Justin Scully, said: “We would’ve done this work anyway because of our commitment to sustainability.

“But after over a year it’s clear the panels will have paid themselves off within a decade, which is incredible."

“It’s a win-win for both sustainability and finances – and means we’re protected in case of more energy price rises in the future."

The Fountains Abbey estate includes the ruins of an ancient abbey and the Georgian Studley Royal Water Gardens and attracts about 400,000 visitors a year.

The installation included panels which were set into the roofline rather than sitting on top of the tiles, to make them less intrusive and reduce glare.

Mr Scully said the panels integrate with the heat pumps they had previously installed at the centre and are part of a wide range of low-carbon measures including LED lightbulbs and electric vehicle charging points.

“It’s important for the National Trust to be open about climate change, which is one of the biggest threats to the land and properties we look after,” he said.

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