Solar panels for swimming pools

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A COUNCIL aims to reduce its carbon footprint by installing solar panels on two of its leisure pools.

South Kesteven District Council granted planning permission on Friday last week to put photovoltaic panels on the roof of Stamford Leisure Pool in Drift Road and Bourne Leisure Centre in Queen’s Road.

The council hopes the panels will save money while boosting its environmental credentials.

A planning application for panels on the roof of Bourne Corn Exchange is also being considered, and the council wants to install panels on the roof of the Grantham Meres Leisure Centre.

Portfolio holder for healthy environment, Coun John Smith (Con), said: “We have decided to put solar panels on the roofs of four of our buildings in a bid to be both environmentally conscious as well as looking at the long term financial benefits.

“It’s estimated that the installation (of the panels) will result in an annual saving of 45,000kg of carbon and we are hoping to have the panels installed, subject to planning permissions, in the early part of 2012.”

A report to the council’s development control committee said the visual impact of the new panels would be minimal.

In Stamford, the report said, the roof of the leisure pool has a low pitch so residents living to the south of the building, where the reflections would be most prominent, would hardly be affected by any glare.

The panels would be visible from New College Stamford, but any impact would be minimal.

At the Bourne Leisure Centre the main visual impact would be to the south. But properties to the south are about 90 metres away from the centre. The distance, combined with the low pitch of the roof, would minimise visual impact, according to the report.

The financial benefits to the council come from the government’s Feed In Tariff scheme, which guarantees income over a 25 year period.

A set guaranteed rate of 15.2p is paid for every kWh (kilowatt hour) generated by the panels.

If surplus energy is produced by the system which cannot be used in the building, the energy can be sold back to the National Grid at flat rate of 3.1p per kWh.

A public consultation on the Bourne Corn Exchange panels is underway as part of the Bourne Community Access Point plans.

To comment on the application, visit www.southkesteven.gov.uk