The Juxtaposition of Energy Past and Energy Future in Walsall

The Walsall Miner overlooks the town’s low-carbon future.

Looking across the busy traffic intersection from eaves height of the Brownhills Community Centre, we are struck by a powerful juxtaposition of past and future and a brand new relationship emerging.

Walsall Miner overlooks solar panels at Brownhills Community CentreThe 40-foot stainless steel miner, sculpted by John McKenna A.R.B.S., is shining in the early morning sunshine depicting the heritage of the area and its esteemed mining history. Shining back at him are the brand new Solar Photovoltaic panels of the Community Centre roof, representing the low carbon future of the area.

We are hard at work, wearing our own safety helmets not too dissimilar to that of the miner, as we install 11.76 kilowatts of solar PV panels that will generate over 10,000 kW hours of electricity annually from an every source that is abundant and most of all, free.

Energy past and energy future have met at this significant location, where the colossal mining sculpture represents the gateway to the Black Country and its link to the industrial revolution.  Now this embodiment of human toil of extracting coal, a carbon fuel source that fired the industrial growth of the region, will forever overlook the low carbon solar PV system and perhaps marvel at its renewable energy source from the sun.

The reference to carbon extraction from below ground and the use of a fossil fuel further contrasts with the roof-mounted solar panels taking their energy from the sky and discretely blending into the roofscape.

About the Brownhills Community Centre project

The ?we? in this article are Neil Gadsby and Sushil Birdi, the two EnergyMyWay Regional Directors who were overseeing this renewable energy installation.

EnergMyWay were appointed to design and deliver this project and worked very closely with the Brownhills Community Association to devise a scheme to suit the Centre?s requirements. Liaison with Walsall Planning Department and Building Services helped to define the location of the solar array and Jackie Hodgson from the Authority provided the support to ensure the installation went ahead with delay. Financial assistance was given to the scheme by UPS Worldwide Parcel Delivery Services.

If you would like information on solar panels contact Neil Gadsby or Sushil Birdi at the Birmingham and Black Country EnergyMyWay branch. Call 01902 837413 or email

By: Louisa Stockley