One of the North Wales coast’s ‘greenest’ caravan parks has just become even more eco-friendly after harnessing the area’s famous sunshine to help power its mobile homes – and save themselves money in the process.
Energy experts Hafod Renewables have just installed an 86-panel solar array at the Ty Gwyn Caravan Park, at Towyn, Abergele, where the Owen family have been welcoming visitors since 1938.
The third generation of the family, brother and sister Rhodri and Angharad, have been stepping up their ‘green’ credentials with renewable electricity tariffs and recycling policies and the new £23,000 system will save them over £4,000 a year and pay for itself within six years.
Hafod Renewables Managing Director David Jones is at the UK’s largest holiday park show, the Holiday Park and Resort Innovation 2019, at the NEC in Birmingham this week to bang the drum for renewable energy in the tourism industry and to showcase the Ty Gwyn project.
He said: “We want to try and educate the holiday park sector that there are cleaner, more sustainable and cheaper ways to provide electricity for their sites.
“This makes sense for sites like Ty Gwyn because they’re busy from Easter through to Halloween which are also the sunniest and warmest months of the year.
“Here at Ty Gwyn they also have a number of buildings with roofs suitable for solar panels and so the new system is spread over five different buildings and generates 34.4 kilowatts of electricity which is enough to run eight homes and easily tops up their mains supply.”
It’s a perfect solution for Rhodri who had been faced with rising electricity costs, increasing demand and possible supply issues on the park which is just yards from the beach at Towyn.
He said: “We are very proud of our green credentials and are delighted to have been able to work with Hafod Renewables.
“As a high consumer of energy, part of our green drive is to move all our electric to cleaner energy sources and alongside the solar, we have also switched our mains electricity contract to a green tariff.
“Our customers have an increasing awareness of green issues and are looking to exceed their expectations on this.
“Our Swn Y Mor Restaurant and Bar uses local suppliers, recycles and avoids single use plastics and we hope to have an electric car charging station soon.
“If the scheme performs as we expect it will, we plan in time to add more solar panels here.”
David Jones set up Hafod Renewables with his father, Richard, in Denbigh in 2011 and the award-winning £1.5 million turnover firm now operates from new off-grid headquarters in Tremeirchion.
He said: “There is no subsidy support provided any more for solar schemes but as the cost of solar panels have come down, their efficiency has risen so solar power is still very competitive and in the long-term it will be cheaper than fossil-fuel or even nuclear generated power.
“It works very well for businesses which have plenty of roof space and we have fitted systems to dairy farms and even a bakery and although Ty Gwyn doesn’t have a single large roof it has plenty of buildings which are suitable.
“This solution made sense for them economically because putting in a solar system reduces their reliance on the grid and means they don’t have to start up their backup diesel generator.
“As people run more and more electrical appliances I think a lot of holiday parks will find themselves close to the limit like them so renewable solutions make sense.
“This system will pay for itself within six years but it has a 25-year lifespan so that adds up to almost 20 years of free electricity.
“It should even be possible to fit panels to the roofs of caravans which could potentially provide the site with all the power it needs at some stage in the future.”
Hafod Renewables installed their first system in July 2010 and since then they have fitted over 10,000 solar panels, stacked end on end they would tower over 29,028 foot Mount Everest.
In the past 12 months they have provided solar systems for 68 customers, including businesses like Henllan Bakery in Denbigh, dairy farms and even the world’s oldest heritage railway, the Talyllyn, where although Welsh steam coal is still king, solar is now playing its part.
They have also installed over 73 air-source systems and over 30 ground-source systems with a 16,000 hen egg producer and the North Wales Wildlife Trust among their customers.
David added: “In just a few years almost everyone will be driving electric cars and by then most of our power will be produced by solar, wind, tidal and other renewables.
“Renewable energy isn’t a Cinderella-style operation any more. It’s a real contender and one with a better, cheaper long-term future than fossil-fuel or even nuclear generated power.”
For more on Hafod Renewables go to https://www.hafodrenewables.co.uk/