Swansea's Morriston Hospital ran on power from its own solar farm for fifty hours this winter without back-up from other sources.

The Brynwhillach Farm site, the UK's first hospital-owned solar farm, also generated enough power to be sold back to the national grid at a profit.

The £5.7million project was built using a loan scheme set up by the Welsh Government to decarbonise the public sector by 2030.

Climate change minister Julie James said: “We want our energy to come from community owned and locally run renewable energy sources in Wales.

“This will ensure our supply is resilient, reliable and reasonable for both our planet and our pockets.

“We have bold ambitions to decarbonise the public sector by 2030.

"Morriston Hospital- which depends not only on the powers of their staff, but also energy-hungry machines to keep their patients alive and well- has blazed the trail in its switch to renewables, which makes sense both financially and to the health of the people of Wales."

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Emma Woollett, Chair of Swansea University Health Board, echoed these sentiments.

“I am delighted that the solar farm’s performance has already exceeded our initial expectations," she said.

“The health board’s aim is to reduce its carbon footprint and maximise opportunities to use renewable energy sources.

“The solar farm will play an important part in achieving that aim, but there is also an additional benefit in terms of cost savings. It is not only lowering our electricity costs every day, but on some days covering 100% of our electricity needs.

“With the current volatile situation with energy prices, this really shows that the investment and the long-term thinking on behalf of the health board has paid off.”

The Welsh Government estimates that the project has saved Morriston Hospital an estimated £120,000 in electricity bills since the solar farm was switched on in November, and projects it could save 1000 tonnes of carbon and £500,000 per year in bills when fully operational.

The National Wales: Fuel prices reached record highs this weekend. (Picture: PA Wire)Fuel prices reached record highs this weekend. (Picture: PA Wire)

Reduced oil and gas supplies have seen prices soar this year, as fossil fuel companies cash in.

The trend has pushed energy bills to new highs, putting significant strain on households, public services and businesses.

At the same time, oil company Shell reported eyewatering profits totalling just under £15bn in 2021, an increase of 400 percent on the previous year.

Costs have climbed further since Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine. Russia is the world's second largest producer of crude oil.

“Our addiction to fossil fuels is proving harmful, volatile and no longer viable," Julie James added.

"In Wales we will continue to accelerate our investment in renewable energy and energy efficient measures such as those adopted at Morriston hospital, and call on the UK Government to support a socially just transition to Net Zero as we respond to the climate emergency.

“The IPCC have rung the clarion call for our planet, now we must listen and respond to the science.”

Last summer the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that climate breakdown "is widespread, rapid, and intensifying", with some changes already irreversible.

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The report, called a "code red for humanity" by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, warned that rapid reductions in carbon emissions were needed to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees.

At 2°C of global warming, heat extremes are more likely to reach critical tolerance thresholds for agriculture and health, and coastal areas will see frequent, severe flooding. Other regions would experience drought, and food supplies would be significantly affected.

"Inclusive and green economies, prosperity, cleaner air and better health are possible for all, if we respond to this crisis with solidarity and courage," the UN chief added at the time.

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