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Solar savings clocking up

Use of latest technology to collect energy from the sun has given Boston Borough Council a £6,800 boost in just over 14 weeks since new solar panels at the Princess Royal Sports Arena were switched on.

Picture: A cheque for £6,800 thanks to free energy from the sun. Pictured at the PRSA are, from left, Boston Borough Council Leader Cllr Peter Bedford, the council's portfolio holder for leisure services Cllr Claire Rylott, the council's Chief Executive Phil Drury and  PRSA Contract Manager Marc Speirs.

The project is already making good on its promise of making and saving cash for the council to pay for repairs and improvements at the centre.

The 363-panel roof-mounted system was installed in June and operational from June 18.

Between then and September 28 it generated £3,800 in Feed-in Tariff payment and £3,000 in energy savings. The cost of the system was £104,000.

Sport, leisure and recreation experts 1Life have now taken on full responsibility for the centre.

The council will fund repairs and improvements to bring the centre up to an improved handover condition - costs covered by savings made by energy efficiency improvements.

The sport, leisure and recreation experts have a full repair and renew lease for the site, relieving borough council tax payers of any future financial responsibility.

The solar panels on the roof of the PRSA are just part of a greater energy efficiency package to also include the Geoff Moulder Leisure Complex.

A 500kw biomass boilers is also planned for the PRSA, replacing costlier LPG - the site is not on mains gas.

The investment will also contribute towards reducing the carbon footprint of the facility - annual carbon emission savings from the solar panels are estimated at more than 35 tonnes.

Council leader, Cllr Peter Bedford, said: "I am pleased that the solar panels are living up to all expectations and generating cash for us. It all points to a great future for the PRSA."

The agreement with 1Life follows the council's proven track record of partnership working with Boston College, Witham Academies Federation and Boston Amateur Swimming Club leading to improvements to the Peter Paine Sports Centre and the Geoff Moulder Leisure Complex, both showing increases in gym and swimming pools use.

The partner organisations have injected cash into the facilities and had access to grant funding the council could not tap into, helping to drive forward attendances in all areas of exercise and fitness. Peter Paine had a £2 million investment provided by the college