One need not necessarily be proficient in irony to realize that the idea that a coal museum is kept up and running by a green energy source such as solar power is funny, to say the least.Apparently, this is the case with the “Big Pit” National Coal Museum in South Whales, UK, whose energy demands are presently met by several solar panels.
More precisely, said museum is now the proud owner of 200 photovoltaic solar panels, which were installed on its roof and whose presence must be linked to two major achievements: slashing this facility's electricity bills and making a case of how the age of coal is pretty much gone.
Tree Hugger explains that, although installing these solar panels cost the museum quite a lot of money, they are to more than pay for themselves throughout the course of the following years.
Thus, the “Big Pit” National Coal Museum's management team expects that, given today's exchange rate, the museum will end up saving roughly ₤400,000 (€492,065 / $648,740) in electricity costs over the following 25 years.
This money can be invested in rebuilding various parts of the museum or in making it more visitor-friendly.
Moreover, the solar panels are expected to generate more electricity than the museum burns on a yearly basis, which means that whatever surplus power gets produced can be fed into the national grid, adding to the museum's income.
Commenting on this ironic status quo, Peter Walker (i.e. the museum's manager) made a case of how, “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.”
“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,” Peter Walker went on to add.