National Coal Museum installs 200 solar panels to save money

The Sideshow

Not everyone is sold on green energy. But one recent convert is an institution dedicated to the legacy of fossil fuels: England’s Big Pit National Coal Museum has installed 200 solar panels to help offset energy costs.

"Coal is such an important part of Wales’ heritage, and yet green energy will play a major part in its future. A solar powered coal-mining museum is a fantastic way to celebrate this national journey," Peter Walker, the museum's manager told Renewable Energy World.

"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 new solar panels will reportedly save the museum approximately $650,000 over the next 25 years, minus the $115,000 cost of installation.

The museum site first opened operations as a coalmine back in 1810 and officially ceased production in 1980. It reached its commercial peak in 1929, employing nearly 1,400 local residents from Wales. It first opened to visitors in 1983 but did not officially become a museum until 2003.

The museum itself has received much acclaim over the years. In 200, UNESCO named the museum a national heritage site, and in 2004 it received the Gulbenkian Prize for Museum of the Year. As part of the tour, visitors are able to travel some 300 feet underground into the former mine to experience what life was like for coal miners.