Solar panels unveiled at Halstead Leisure Centre

Cllr Robert Mitchell, alongside staff from BDC, Fusion Lifestyles who run the leisure centre, and Pl

Cllr Robert Mitchell, alongside staff from BDC, Fusion Lifestyles who run the leisure centre, and Playfords Ltd who have installed the new solar panels. - Credit: Archant

A leisure centre roof in Essex has been covered with more than 600 solar panels in one of the largest single site local authority-owned solar arrays in the country.

Halstead Leisure Centre with its new solar panel array

Halstead Leisure Centre with its new solar panel array - Credit: Archant

Halstead Leisure Centre, owned by Braintree District Council (BDC), has had the panels installed on an area larger than four tennis courts.

All of the energy generated will be used on site, providing around one-quarter of the total energy demand at the centre and saving the authority more than £30,000 a year as well as reducing carbon emissions by 145 tonnes.

Robert Mitchell, deputy cabinet member for carbon management at BDC, said: “After successfully installing solar panels at the council offices in Braintree, we have embarked on a programme of commercial installations across our estate.

“This is locally generated energy that will reduce carbon emissions in the district while providing a sound investment for the council and taxpayers. The income from this programme will be used to maintain local services.

“Our third installation at Braintree Swimming Centre will hopefully be completed in a matter of weeks.”

Mark Johnson, divisional business manager for centre operators Fusion-Lifestyle, said: “Fusion is extremely pleased that Halstead Leisure Centre was chosen to have the energy saving solar panels installed which will assist the running costs of the building and support Fusion’s pledge to develop green initiatives in its management of its leisure facilities.”

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Alan Tuohy, managing director of Playfords Limited, which installed the panels, added: “We were delighted to have secured this contract with BDC, who share our vision for embracing renewable energy.

“This project is an excellent example of the use of solar technology.

“Halstead Leisure Centre is a big user of electricity for the running of the centre, now it has its own energy source which can provide a substantial element of the electricity demands, which in turn reduces the reliance on grid connected electricity and gains the benefits of substantially reducing energy costs and greatly improves the carbon footprint of the centre.”