UK's first solar-powered theme park ride to open to the public

by Search Gate staff. Published Fri 18 Sep 2015 13:42, Last updated: 2015-09-18
Green splash for Greenwood Forest Park
Green splash for Greenwood Forest Park

A leading theme park has become the first in the UK to be powered by renewable energy.

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

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.

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 80 metre long ride includes a 12m tower that visitors have to reach via stairs. Riders then get into inflatable boats and race down the chutes that are flowing with water. Two of the chutes are straight with hump backs on the way down; the third is a spiral tube.

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

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.

Stephen Bristow, owner and Managing Director of GreenWood Forest Park, said: “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 per cent of our power needs.

“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.”

The new ride, which includes £250,000 of Welsh Government funding, follows the same principle. Rather than using electricity to transport visitors to the chutes, they have to first climb to a height of 12m via a staircase. One of GreenWood Forest Park’s key criteria is that people must do some work as well as enjoying themselves.

Gary Brandwood, Managing Director of Manchester-based Perfect Sense Energy, said: “Perfect Sense Energy and our partners Gwynedd Renewables and Pioneer Contracting are delighted to have been able to design and install the first solar array of its kind at a UK theme park.

“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.”

The solar PV system was opened by Huw and Glenys Jones, whose home is closest to the park, while the event was also attended by Arfon MP Hywel Williams and Arfon AM Alun Ffred Jones.

GreenWood Forest Park has been ranked 4th 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.

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Comments about UK's first solar-powered theme park ride to open to the public

I love it lets build one here
Lynne ryan, Beaverton oregon around 2 weeks, 4 days ago

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