Coal museum gets solar panels to lower costs

The Kentucky Coal Museum. Image: Acdixon

While visiting Brisbane for Queensland’s inaugural Climate Week this week, politician and environmentalist Al Gore has used a case study in the States to champion renewables.

As it turns out, there’s a coal-mining museum in Kentucky that in 2017 added 80 solar panels to its roof, which has cut its annual electricity bill by $8000.

The museum was built in the 1920s by International Harvester and features four storeys of exhibits on the region’s mining history and the lives of coal miners. It’s full of antiques, old machinery and artefacts. The goal of the museum is to educate visitors on the hardships of coal mining life and the pressures miners faced in working in dangerous underground mines.

The solar panels were paid for by the owners of the museum – the Southeasstern Kentucky Community and Technical College – which now generate 60 kilowatts at maximum capacity.

The museum’s communications director Brandon Robinson told CNN, “It is a little ironic”.

“But you know, coal and solar and all the different energy sources work hand-in-hand. And, of course, coal is still king around here,” Mr Robinson said.

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