Our Story

The Start Of The Journey

2011

Commissioned in 2011, Western Solar’s solar park at Rhosygilwen was the first large-scale photovoltaic (PV) plant in Wales and it effectively created a large carbon-neutral region in North Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion. Nearly 1,200 photovoltaic panels were placed in 12 lines in a six-acre field, spaced to allow rainwater to fall between the arrays. The PV panels can generate up to 1,200 kW of electricity – which is enough to power 500 homes. The panels were manufactured by MiaSolé, the California-based pioneering producers of thin film PV panels. The MiaSolé CIGS (copper indium gallium selenide) panels used by Western Solar are one of the highest-efficiency thin-film photovoltaic solar panels in the world and they enable the solar park to generate 1.2 GW annually – which in turn saves some 1,100 tonnes of carbon.
The main customer of Western Solar is Green Energy UK, which distributes the power produced by the solar farm. Using power from the sun, wind, falling water and organic waste material, Green Energy UK provides energy that is 100% renewable for the same price as the standard tariff in your region. Green Energy UK offers two tariffs: ‘Deep Green’ – the zero CO2 emissions tariff under which Western Solar’s own energy generation is offered; and ‘Pale Green’, a low-carbon tariff whereby the carbon emissions per kWh of electricity are less than half the national average and priced to compete with mainstream electricity suppliers. You can find out more about Green Energy UK on its website. We also encourage all those who wish to use clean electricity — as produced at Rhosygilwen — to buy their energy from Green Energy UK.

2013-2014

Tŷ Solar®’ was developed by Western Solar as a prototype for ultra-low-energy affordable housing. Extensive research was undertaken to develop a sustainable timber building system for homes using locally sourced materials and powered by solar energy. Welsh larch and Douglas fir – much from local woodlands – were the main woods identified for the structure, cladding, doors and windows. The triple-glazed windows were manufactured to Passiv house standards by a local Pembrokeshire supplier. Whilst the frame is insulated using nearly 11 inches of recycled paper, the use of modern permeable materials ensures that the house remains fully breathable. A further benefit is that the use of carcinogenic chemicals – commonly used elsewhere in construction materials – has been eliminated in the design of Tŷ Solar®.

In 2014 we built a prototype home that would eliminate the reliance on fossil fuels and eliminate fuel poverty. We started with a very simple premise, that the sun was the biggest source of untapped energy in the universe and that we should seek every means possible by this use of technology and astute design to maximise this celestial power source. We decided to throw out every preconception on building a home and start with a clean sheet of paper. The result was TY Solar (means Solar House).

2016-2017

Pentre Solar is a hamlet of 6 solar homes to be let to those on the social housing register, released in 2017. We are looking to replicate this model throughout Wales. If you would like to be kept informed of our developments, please sign up to our mailing list. We will not pass your email address to any other organisation, and will email you only when we have something to say about our developments.

Western Solar’s hamlet of six affordable homes at Glanrhyd in north Pembrokeshire was completed in 2017 and the houses were let to families on the social housing register.

As well as enjoying warm, ultra-low-energy homes, the new residents also share the use of a Nissan Leaf electric car, which is kept charged up by the energy generated by the 192 solar panels on the roofs of the six houses.

Surplus energy is exported to the national grid and sold to Green Energy UK for use by its customers via its ‘Deep Green’ tariff.

The hamlet is now managed by ATEB.

I was pleased to officially open Wales’ first solar village in Glanrhyd earlier this year and it is good to hear Western Solar Ltd has plans to create further developments in partnership, and with the support of our Innovative Housing Programme. This will not only provide much needed housing for local people, but also address many other issues such as energy efficiency, fuel poverty, skills development and the use of Welsh timber. Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Welsh Government

Lesley Griffiths- Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Welsh Government

2018-2019

Between 2018 and 2019 we developed a further 2 solar hamlets for Coastal Housing Association in (Ammanford, Carmarthenshire) and for ATEB Housing association (at the Square and Compass in North Pembrokeshire). 

Ammanford Project

What the housing minister thinks

2020-2021

Boncath in Pembrokeshire we have developed 15 houses comprising of 1 bedroomed apartments 2 bedroom semi-detached and 4 bedroom detached homes.

S4C's TVs coverage of the project at Boncath - Aired 19th Feb 2021