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Solar panels energising sports clubs across Wales

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A green energy revolution is underway within community sport in Wales, with solar panels becoming more of a common sight on clubhouses across the country thanks to funding from Sport Wales.

A total of 79 sports clubs across the country have been awarded Energy Saving Grants during 2023/24 to help make their facilities more energy efficient. 

The majority of the clubs who received grants – which add up to nearly £1.4m – will be using their funding to install solar panels, while other uses include insulation improvements, upgrades to heating systems and sustainable water sourcing. 

From Anglesey to Barry, solar panels are being embraced as a forward-thinking way of cutting clubs’ energy bills so that they can become more financially sustainable, while also doing their bit for the environment. 

In February, Sport Wales announced details of how nearly £1m would be distributed to 57 clubs who were successful with their applications for Energy Saving Grants. This week, a further 22 clubs have been added to that list following the award of an additional £362,147.

Clubs were able to apply for grants up to a maximum amount of £25,000.

Brian Davies, CEO of Sport Wales, said: “Many sports clubs that run premises have really felt the impact of soaring energy bills in recent times, so we’re delighted to have been able to support 80 of them during this financial year. 

“These energy-saving measures will significantly reduce clubs’ energy bills, meaning that they are much more financially sustainable for the future. This will help to ensure that they can continue to provide affordable activities which are so valued by their communities. 

“The climate emergency is also of deep concern to us, so the Energy Saving Grants provide a welcome way in which to reduce Welsh sport’s carbon footprint. 

“Each club applying for a grant had to conduct an Energy Survey so that we could determine the best possible use of funding. For example, there would be no point installing a new heating system in a clubhouse that has ancient windows and poor insulation. 

“We’ve learned a lot ourselves during this process and there was a really high demand from clubs for these grants. I’m therefore pleased to confirm that we’ll be making another £1.5m of Energy Saving Grants available for clubs to apply for in the new financial year, again using funding that has been allocated to Sport Wales by Welsh Government.” 

Brian added: “Details of how clubs can apply for the grants will be available on our website and social media channels soon.”

The Cabinet Secretary for Culture and Social Justice, Lesley Griffiths, said: “I’m pleased to see this funding being allocated across the country to a wide range of sport clubs. As the cost of living and the cost of doing business remains high, it’s vital we continue to support our sport clubs to become more financially sustainable for the future, so they can continue to serve our communities and keep people active.”

Among the 47 clubs who will be using their funding to install solar panels is Menai Bridge Cricket Club. They’re the only cricket club on Anglesey and will be using their £21,055 grant to fund solar panels as well as triple glazing for their club’s pavilion.

In Caerphilly, the Bedwas & Trethomas Bowls Club estimate that their £9,756 grant to buy solar panels and battery storage will save them a whopping £74,000 over 25 years. 

Mold Golf Club is also on the list of the latest grant recipients. Last year, the club installed solar panels which are generating good energy savings, but not enough surplus to make use of the battery storage they also purchased. 

Now, thanks to a £13,666 Energy Saving Grant, the club will install 16 more panels and double their battery storage. They plan to use the surplus energy to charge their fleet of eight golf buggies, used daily by members and visitors. Their grant will also enable them to replace their lighting with energy-efficient LEDs.

Penlan RFC in Swansea are using their £11,600 grant to carry out several energy-saving improvements to modernise their 43-year-old clubhouse. New doors and windows will be installed to conserve heat better, while new LED light fittings and a new ground source heat pump will both reduce their energy bills.

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