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RTB Ebbw Vale FC make switch to solar power

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By installing solar panels on the roof of their changing rooms, RTB Ebbw Vale Football Club believe that they have taken a major step towards securing their future for many generations to come.

RTB Ebbw Vale FC were recently awarded Sport Wales funding, distributed by the Cymru Football Foundation, to make the shift to solar power and they’re encouraging other sports clubs to follow suit.

Because their changing rooms are perfectly situated to benefit from day-long sun, the club’s new solar panels generate enough electricity to run their changing rooms without the need for mains electricity. Any excess energy is stored in two lithium batteries and the remaining energy sold back to the national grid. Over the solar panels’ 20-year life span it is estimated that the club will save around £70,000!

The club will pass on those financial savings to their members by keeping the cost of activities low, while they also want to give more community projects the chance of using their facilities free of charge - be it for meetings or just a brew.

Funding Officer Darren Mott said: “For over 70 years, RTB Ebbw Vale FC has become established as a much-loved community asset which creates strong bonds and friendships amongst its members.

“But our local community has less and less to spend at the moment due to increases in the cost of living. So, we were very keen to explore the possibility of installing solar panels so that we could reduce our costs and help to keep football affordable for everyone. 

With the cost of energy on the increase, investing in solar power now will help massively towards securing the long-term sustainability of our club.
Darren Mott, RTB Ebbw Vale FC

“With the cost of energy on the increase, investing in solar power now will help massively towards securing the long-term sustainability of our club, but it also means that we can open up our facility to be used by other clubs and organisations. With energy prices at their peak during the day, we were limited before on what times we could offer, but we’re now able to open up for more regular use without worrying about a huge energy bill!”

The solar panels were installed last month and the next phase of their project will see RTB Ebbw Vale FC link their solar panel system up to their boilers, further reducing their dependence on fossil fuels, while they’ve also started replacing the lighting in their facility with energy efficient LED bulbs.

As well as the cost benefits, the environmental aspect has also been important to the club, as Darren explains: “We’re keen to reduce the club's impact on the environment and we want to share the benefits that energy sustainability can offer with our members and the community. The solar panels have become a real talking point and a great way of raising awareness of issues around energy and climate change, particularly among our younger members.”

Any sports clubs in Wales who would like to follow the example of RTB Ebbw Vale FC are welcome to apply for Sport Wales’ new Energy Saving Grant. Funding up to £25,000 can be used towards the cost of energy-saving measures such as the installation of solar panels, better insulation, installing energy efficient LED lighting and motion sensors, improving heating and hot water systems, as well as sustainable water sourcing.

To apply, clubs need to complete a stage 1 application form between Tuesday 16 May and Wednesday 28 June 2023. This is done online via the Sport Wales website where you will be fully guided through the process. Crucially, clubs who apply for the funding must either own their building or have a minimum 10-year lease. They will also be expected to contribute a minimum of 20% towards their total project costs.

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