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Huge solar array installed at council leisure centre

Cllr Adam Clarke at the new PV array on Aylestone Leisure Centre

A HUGE solar array, comprising of more than 800 separate panels, has been installed on the roof of a city council leisure centre.

Leicester City Council has invested over £1million to remove and replace the leaky roof at Aylestone Leisure Centre and install the new 3,600m2 array of new photovoltaic (PV) panels.

The overall array is equivalent in size to more than a dozen tennis courts and will generate an estimated 270MWh (megawatt hours) of renewable electricity in a typical year. New insulation has also been fitted to the roof to help reduce heat loss. It’s estimated that the works will reduce annual energy costs by about £70,000 alongside carbon savings equivalent to over 60 tonnes.

The work at Aylestone Leisure Centre is part of a citywide programme of investment in energy efficient improvements to council buildings which will help reduce their carbon footprint and make them cheaper to run.

Deputy city mayor Cllr Adam Clarke, who leads on climate, economy and culture, said: “This major investment in improving the energy efficiency of Aylestone Leisure Centre represents another important step forward in the city’s response to the climate emergency.

“With over 800 panels, it is the largest array of solar PV panels we have installed on any of our buildings so far.

“The need to retrofit and decarbonise existing buildings I among the biggest challenges presented by the climate emergency, but there are huge benefits. By investing in making our buildings more energy efficient, we can dramatically cut our carbon emissions and save hundreds of thousands of pounds a year in energy costs – something that is very welcome in these challenging times.”

Work to install the new PV array at Aylestone Leisure Centre has been supported by up to £500,000 from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), as part of Leicester City Council’s successful bid for over £4million of match-funding to support a range of projects that aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The installation of the new PV panels at Aylestone Leisure Centre has been carried out by construction partner Stepnell under contract to the city council’s estates and buildings services. It was the first project to be delivered under Stepnell’s new ‘Step Energy’ service.

Aylestone Leisure Centre has also recently benefitted from improvements to its main reception area, a newly refurbished dance studio and a dedicated group cycling studio.

This is part of a wider £4.7 million city council investment programme which has also seen improvements at Braunstone Leisure Centre, Spence Street Sports Centre, Evington Leisure Centre and Cossington Street Sports Centre