April 16, 2024

UK Funds Solar Photovoltaic Project at Bath Leisure Centre

Bath Sports & Leisure Centre is poised to receive energy-saving enhancements through the installation of rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, facilitated by a successful funding application made by Bath & North East Somerset Council. 

The Council Secures £173,166 from SPSF

Bath & North East Somerset Council secured £173,166 from Phase II (Capital) of the government’s Swimming Pool Support Fund (SPSF), dedicated to financing capital investments aimed at enhancing the energy efficiency of public facilities equipped with pools. Solar Power Portal reported on Monday.

Pending verification from a roof assessment, a solar photovoltaic (PV) array of up to 212 kilowatt peak (kWp) capacity will be deployed on the central roof section of Bath Sports & Leisure Centre, under the management of GLL. Approximately 124kWp is anticipated to fulfil the electricity demand for the swimming pools. At the same time, the surplus array could potentially supply power for future air source pumps, aligning with a broader decarbonisation strategy for the facility.

Solar Photovoltaic Project Reduces Carbon Dioxide Output

The installation of solar photovoltaic panels is projected to decrease carbon dioxide emissions by 23.04 tonnes annually, leading to £41,000 in energy cost savings per year.

Councillor Oli Henman, Cabinet Project Lead for Climate Emergency and Sustainability, expressed enthusiasm about securing the funding, stating, “We are pleased to have obtained this financial support, which will propel us forward in our mission to decarbonize our council buildings and foster renewable energy generation. 

"It will diminish the building's energy consumption and carbon footprint, aiding us in reaching our Net Zero objective by 2030, along with our targets of achieving a minimum of 300MW district-wide renewable energy generation capacity and 12MW installed capacity on the corporate estate.” He added.

Barnaby Rich, the Partnership Manager at GLL, a charitable social enterprise managing Bath Sports and Leisure Centre for the council, expressed appreciation for the funding from Sport England, highlighting its significant impact on the leisure centre.

He also thanked Bath & North East Somerset Council for their support in securing the financial award, emphasizing that it will enable the centre to lower operating expenses and utilize sustainable energy, aligning with GLL’s dedication to environmental stewardship and the council’s Carbon Net Zero objectives.

Over 700 Facilities Applied for Funds

The administration of the Swimming Pool Support Fund is overseen by Sport England, with an additional £20 million in Lottery funding provided to supplement the government's £40 million SPSF capital fund. Over 700 facilities submitted funding applications, totalling four times the available funding amount.

Lisa Dodd-Mayne, Executive Director – Place at Sport England, emphasized the critical role of swimming pools and leisure centres in communities, particularly in promoting physical activity. She acknowledged the challenges faced by many pools in the current climate, including increased energy costs and staffing difficulties, expressing pride in Sport England's support during this challenging period.

Dodd-Mayne expressed hope that the funding announcement would enable more public pools to enhance their energy efficiency, ensuring their environmental and financial sustainability for future generations to benefit from.

SPSF Photovoltaic Funding

This specific fund has provided financial assistance to numerous councils for the installation of PV modules in their respective community swimming pools and recreational facilities. For instance, Worcester City Council received £195,000 from the UK government's SPSF to integrate solar panels onto the roof of Perdiswell Leisure Centre.

These panels, slated for installation by March 2025, will be accompanied by additional components such as a system to utilize surplus power generated during summer months for heating water in showers, fans to circulate warm air and reduce heating requirements, and an energy-efficient water recovery system for cleaning and reusing water.

Additionally, the council secured an extra £59,750 from the SPSF, on behalf of the Worcester Citizens’ Swimming Baths Association, for the installation of solar panels and an upgrade to the building management system at the Lower Wick swimming pool in Worcester.

Similarly, the West Lindsey District Council in Lincolnshire announced the receipt of £401,500 in government funding for the installation of numerous solar panels at its leisure centre. This funding will be utilized to install 545 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on the roof of the swimming pool, resulting in savings of 221 MWh in annual energy production.

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