BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 27 September '15

GreenWood Forest Park becomes first theme park to be powered by renewable energy

GreenWood Forest Park in Y Felinheli, North Wales, has unveiled a £150,000 ground-mounted solar array which will provide more than 80% of the park’s energy needs.

Go for a ride – Drayton Manor Theme Park is the UK’s first family-owned theme park to achieve zero waste to landfill

£1m saving

The 576-panel 150kW system will save the park over £1million in energy costs over a 25-year period, as well as providing a carbon saving of 1,700 tonnes over the same period.

‘I believe GreenWood Forest Park is the first tourist attraction of its kind to produce the vast majority of its power from renewable sources.

‘Many theme parks use huge amounts of electricity and could be doing a good deal more to address the issue of carbon reduction.

‘I am extremely proud of our investment in the new solar array which will provide around 80% of our power needs.’

Stephen Bristow, owner and Managing Director of GreenWood Forest Park

Powering new rides

The launch of the renewable energy system comes at an exciting time for GreenWood Forest Park. More than £900,000 is being invested in a major new ride – due to open in the Spring of next year – which will also have its power needs met by the solar panels.

The 80m long ride includes a 12m tower that visitors have to reach via stairs. One of GreenWood Forest Park’s key criteria is that people must do some work as well as enjoying themselves!

‘GreenWood Forest Park has always taken the view that fun should not come with a heavy environmental price tag. We have previously built a medieval-style Great Hall using Welsh Oak grown within 80 miles of the park and we have used recycled slate products for car parks and paths.

‘In 2004, we designed and built the world’s first people-powered rollercoaster which uses a fraction of the power of conventional rollercoasters.

‘We have also always managed to run our business using less than one unit of electricity per visitor per year.’

Stephen Bristow, owner and Managing Director of GreenWood Forest Park

Solar education

The system will also have an educational purpose. In addition to the current 146,000 annual visitors to the tourist attraction, school parties will be able to learn about how solar energy is powering the park.

There is a public display panel which continually updates visitors on the benefits being achieved through the solar panel installation.

‘At certain times, the PV array produces more than double the amount of energy being consumed by the park, with the excess renewable energy being exported on to the grid for other local consumers to use.

‘We hope that other tourist and leisure attractions see what GreenWood Forest Park have done and consider harnessing renewable energy within their businesses.’

Gary Brandwood, Managing Director of Manchester-based Perfect Sense Energy

Increasing visitors

GreenWood Forest Park has been ranked fourth-best amusement park in the UK by TripAdvisor and 20th in the whole of Europe. The theme park is aiming to increase its annual number of visitors to 175,000 by 2017.

The installation of the ground-mounted PV system was project managed by Perfect Sense Energy, along with partners Gwynedd Renewables and Pioneer Contracting.

Click here to find out more about GreenWood Forest Park and how to get there.