One of the largest council-owned solar panel set ups in the country has been installed on the roof of Halstead Leisure Centre.
Work has recently been completed on the installation, with 600 solar panels covering the roof.
The energy from the panels, which cover an area larger than four tennis courts, will generate 160,000kwh of electricity a year – a quarter of the building’s energy demand.
This is expected to save Braintree District Council more than £30,000 a year, while reducing carbon emissions by 145 tonnes.
Robert Mitchell, Braintree District Council’s deputy cabinet member, who is responsible for carbon management, 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.”
Mark Johnson, divisional business manager for Fusion-Lifestyle, which runs the leisure centre, said: “We are extremely pleased that Halstead Leisure Centre was chosen to have the energy-saving solar panels installed.
“It will assist the running costs of the building and support our pledge to develop green initiatives in the management of our leisure facilities.
“We look forward to the solar array switch on.”
Alan Tuohy, managing director of Playfords Limited, which fitted the panels, added: “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.
“This, 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.”
The panels will be officially switched on by district councillors Wendy Schmitt and Robert Mitchell tomorrow at 1pm.