Solar scheme operational at Leominster leisure centre

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A community-owned solar power scheme has started generating its first electricity in north Herefordshire.

The final panels were attached to the Bridge Street Leisure Centre in Leominster on Friday.

The Leominster Community Solar Co-op sold shares to local people to raise the £150,000 needed to install the solar panels.

The 49kW array is expected to generate about 10% of electricity used by the sports centre annually.

The community co-op estimates the project will also save about 22 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

It is believed to be one of the first community power-generation projects of its kind in the UK.

The work was originally planned for January but had to be brought forward to take advantage of the current feed-in tariffs.

The government currently offers 32.9p for every kWh of electricity generated from renewable sources.

For projects after 12 December the tariff will drop to 15.2p per kWh.

Due to the rush to get the project operational, the co-op said it still needed £60,000 of community investment.

Andrew Talbot from Halo Leisure, which runs the sports centre on behalf of Herefordshire Council, said: "We're delighted by this opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint and electricity bills."

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