Assessing the feasibility of Solar Tile Technology at the UNESCO World Heritage Nelson’s Dockyard National Park

npa and uk climate diplomacy fund photography
Left to Right - Kadeem Joseph, Political & Projects Officer at the British High Commission in Antigua and Barbuda, Desley Gardner, Heritage Officer at the NPA, Resident British Commissioner to Antigua and Barbuda Lindsy Thompson, Ann Marie Martin, Parks Commissioner, Charley Williams MBE, Deputy High Commissioner Bridgetown, Dr. Christopher Waters, Heritage Manager at NPA.
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A project sponsored by the British High Commission’s UK Climate Diplomacy Fund

The National Parks Authority has received grant funding from the UK’s Climate Resilience Fund, to embark on a study inside the Dockyard Precinct, to assess the feasibility of using photovoltaic tiles to generate power.

These pioneering tiles are taking solar technology and embedding it into common roofing materials that resemble traditional wooden shingles used in the Dockyard.

Beyond the aesthetic advantage of blending into the historical structures, unlike traditional solar panels, these tiles are integrated into the roof structure, making them more resistant to hurricane-force winds.

Each tile is connected by cables to the power distribution board. Photovoltaic tiles combine efficiency with design without compromising the architecture and aesthetics of buildings.

The successful completion of this project would signal an important milestone for the Nelson’s Dockyard National Park and will chart a path for heritage sites around the world to develop clean energy plans without sacrificing the authenticity or integrity of their sites.

This project was conceptualized by the NPA, to lower the Park’s reliance on fossil fuels, generate electricity and increase financial sustainability. 

Reducing this electricity bill by switching to photovoltaics would enhance the financial sustainability of the NPA, making more funds available for conservation, stabilization, and programming in heritage and the environment, all while reducing the overall reliance on fossil fuels.  

Dr. Christopher Waters, Manager of the Heritage Department at the NPA stated that “the subject of sustainability is a major discussion globally and I am excited to see Antigua and Barbuda take this bold move towards this effort in such a historic location like the UNESCO World Heritage Nelson’s Dockyard National Park. This first step of setting up the feasibility study is an important one, as the consulting technician would assess the generating capacity of the roof spaces of the dockyard buildings, the feasibility of the historical structures to carry the weight of solar tiles, and the risks of putting solar tiles on roofs in our hurricane-prone region.”

The grant for this project is being made possible through the British High Commission’s Climate Diplomacy Fund/CDF. 

Her Excellency Lindsy Thompson stated that “It is important that we act swiftly and make an impact in our local communities as we move towards becoming a climate-resilient nation. The CDF was established to do just that, by creating a pathway to seeing projects such as these come to life. Through the CDF, a total of $37,642XCD will be provided for this phase of the project. We are looking forward to this partnership with the team at the NPA and seeing the successful outcome which will ultimately see such an important project come to life.”

The outcome of the feasibility study will inform the progress of this project, including identifying which spaces carry the best capture of light, with the lowest risks, and inform the heritage impact assessments, which will have to follow. 

The funds from this grant will go towards this initial study.

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