Viridian Solar Rooftop Commercial
Bath leisure centre receives government funding from SPSF for rooftop solar. Image: Viridian Solar

Bath & North East Somerset Council has been awarded £173,166 in UK government funding to install solar on top of the Bath Sports & Leisure Centre.

The council applied for this funding from Phase II (Capital) of the government’s Swimming Pool Support Fund (SPSF), which funds capital investment to improve the energy efficiency of public facilities with pools.

Up to a 212kWp solar photovoltaic (PV) array will be installed on the leisure centre’s central roof area, subject to approval from a roof survey.

An estimated 124kWp is required to provide the electricity needed for the swimming pools, with the additional array potentially providing electricity for future air source pumps that may be installed as part of a longer-term decarbonisation plan for the building.

Sport England administers the Swimming Pool Support Fund, and £20 million in Lottery funding was also made available to complement the government’s £40 million SPSF capital fund.

More than 700 facilities applied for funding, with a total funding request of four times the amount available.

Councillor Oli Henman, cabinet project lead for climate emergency and sustainability, said: “We are delighted to have received this funding, which will help us take the next step forward in our ambition to decarbonise our council buildings and generate renewable energy.

“It will reduce the building’s energy consumption and cut the carbon output, helping us to achieve our Net Zero goal by 2030 and achieve our targets of a minimum of 300MW district-wide renewable energy generating capacity and 12MW installed capacity on the corporate estate.”

SPSF’s winning projects

This particular fund has seen multiple councils receive financial support for installing PV modules in their local swimming pools and leisure centres.

For example, Worcester City Council was awarded £195,000 from the UK government’s SPSF to add solar panels to the roof of Perdiswell Leisure Centre.

The panels will be installed by March 2025 alongside a unit that will use excess power produced during the summer months to heat water for the showers, fans that will recirculate warm air to reduce heating demand, and an energy-efficient water recovery system that will clean and reuse water.

The council also obtained a further £59,750 from the SPSF on behalf of the Worcester Citizens’ Swimming Baths Association for solar panels and a building management system upgrade for the swimming pool at Lower Wick in Worcester.

Moreover, the West Lindsey District Council in Lincolnshire announced that the government allocated £401,500 to install hundreds of solar panels at its leisure centre. The funding will be used to install 545 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on the swimming pool roof, saving 221 MWh of annual energy production.

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