May 21, 2024

SPSF Installs 300 Solar Panels at Thame Leisure Centre

Thame Leisure Centre will benefit from a £160,000 fund secured by South Oxfordshire District Council, allowing for significant green energy upgrades, including the installation of solar energy systems.

Swimmers To Enjoy Warmth Indoors

The Swimming Pool Support Fund, a governmental organisation, awarded South Oxfordshire District Council around £160,000 for the installation of roughly 300 solar panels at the Thame facility. This comes weeks after the council received £3 million to renovate Wheatley's Park Sports Centre and Didcot Wave Leisure Centre.

According to a report on its website, South Oxfordshire District Council, a local government authority in England, secured the funding for hundreds of solar panels at Thame Leisure Centre, ensuring swimmers in Thame will soon enjoy the warmth of the sun indoors.

The solar panels will utilize all available roof space at the centre, encompassing areas such as the gym, sports hall, and swimming pool. This initiative builds upon previous efforts at the site to enhance energy efficiency, such as the implementation of LED lighting. The installation of the solar panels is expected to be finished by spring 2025, with minimal disruption to users anticipated.

Decreasing Fossil Fuel Dependence

Councillor Georgina Heritage, the South Oxfordshire District Council Cabinet Member for Communities, expressed enthusiasm for the benefits to Thame and its residents who use the centre. She noted that this news follows a recent award of £1.4 million in government funding for similar renewable energy projects at Didcot Wave and Park Sports Centre in Wheatley. These initiatives collectively aim to significantly lower the council's energy expenses and carbon footprint.

“This is fantastic news for Thame and the community that uses the centre. It follows the recent award of £1.4 million in government funding for comparable renewable energy upgrades at Didcot Wave and Park Sports Centre in Wheatley. All of these efforts combined to considerably cut the council's energy bills and carbon footprint,” Georgina stated.

Councillor David Rouane, Leader of South Oxfordshire District Council, emphasized the council's commitment to decreasing fossil fuel dependence and reducing energy expenses through this new investment in renewable energy. “We can assist residents in taking comparable action, albeit on a smaller scale, to lower their energy expenses and their impact on the environment,” he added.

Park Sports Centre and Didcot Wave Leisure Centre Experience Solar Upgrade

Park Sports Centre in Wheatley and the Didcot Wave Leisure Centre are set to undergo upgrades, with solar panels and air-source heat pumps replacing ageing gas-fired boilers as part of the plan. This will be achieved with the £3 million South Oxfordshire District Council recently secured.

Of the total funding, £1,490,475 originates from the central Government, while the remainder has been contributed by South Oxfordshire District Council and Oxfordshire County Council, which share a joint use agreement at Park Sports Centre. The sports sites' upgrades are expected to be completed by spring 2026.

Councillor Freddie Van Mierlo noted that the investment benefits both the environment and financial savings for consumers and taxpayers due to the high energy consumption of leisure centres. “This is excellent news for our communities. Leisure complexes use a lot of energy and contribute significantly to the council's carbon emissions.”

Decarbonisation Goal

South Oxfordshire District Council estimates these sustainable changes will cut over 200 tonnes of carbon emissions annually, representing 6.9% of the council's yearly emissions.

Councillor Maggie Filipova-Rivers also highlighted that the reduced energy bills from this decarbonisation effort will make the leisure centres more sustainable both economically and environmentally.

“This is fantastic news for the centres and the individuals who utilise them. Energy bills are predicted to fall as a result of this decarbonisation programme, indicating that the recreational centres are both economically and environmentally sustainable,” Filipova-Rivers expressed.

The installation of 300 solar panels at Thame Leisure Centre, alongside upgrades at Didcot Wave and Park Sports Centre in Wheatley, reflects the South Oxfordshire District Council's commitment to greener energy solutions. These initiatives demonstrate a collective effort to promote sustainability, benefiting both the environment and the community. 

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