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A coal museum powered by solar panels

Posting in Energy

Here's your daily dose of irony from Renewable Energy World:

Wales’ National Coal Mining Museum located at Big Pit, Blaenavon, Nr Abergavenny in south Wales, now has 200 photovoltaic solar panels erected on the Big Pit museum’s roof with another 200 solar panels installed on the National Collection Centre in Nantgarw.

The museum's impetus for making the switch to solar? Cost, of course. The museum, a coal mine that closed in 1980, invested $114,000 in the panels but is expected to save $652,000 over a 25-year period. In addition, any surplus energy generated by the solar panels will be sold to the grid. As the museum's manager told Renewable Energy World: "Coal is such an important part of Wales’ heritage and yet green energy will play a major part in its future."

It's fitting symbol for Wales, which once had 232,000 people working in the coal industry and now only has about 1,200 as coal's share of electricity generation has dropped to 20 percent and the Welsh government looking ahead to a low carbon energy future.

But is this a sign of things to come for coal, a symbol of times past? Not so fast. A report out this week from the International Energy Agency says that coal will match oil as the world's leading energy source in 10 years, with China and emerging markets driving growth.

National Coal Mining Museum Fits Solar Panels [Renewable Energy World]

[h/t Treehugger]

Photo: National Coal Mining Museum

— By on December 19, 2012, 12:28 AM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure