A solar array at Leicester’s Community Sports Arena has been completed just in time for the installation to benefit from the higher rate of feed-in tariff no longer available to new projects.

The 245kWp installation has been placed on the new home of the Leicester Riders basketball team and was completed, signed off and registered prior to the introduction of the new rates for 2016.

The solar scheme, consisting of 980 panels, is one of the largest in the city and will result in reduced utility costs, as well as securing income for the arena by supplying electricity back to the grid.

The project was designed and implemented by Langley Eco which was tasked with completing the work ahead of the start of the government’s pause on FiT installations which came into force on 14 January.

Darren Forbes, director of Langley Eco, said: “This was an extremely challenging project, particularly with the very recently announced change in the government’s feed-In tariff scheme, and we were very pleased to complete the scheme ahead of schedule. Our thanks also go to the arena project team who facilitated our working with a partnership approach.”

Kevin Routledge, project director of the Leicester Community Sports Arena, said: “We are absolutely delighted to complete this work ahead of the change in the feed-in-tariff rate, recognising the significant benefits it will bring to the long term costs of running the arena.

“We were supported by excellent work by all the contractors and staff involved, working as they were to an extremely tight deadline, and it is a credit to them all that the work was completed, signed off and registered ahead of the deadline.”

The installation was finished ahead of the completion of the arena, which will be formally launched on 27 January.

Cllr Adam Clarke, assistant city mayor for energy and sustainability, said: “The Community Sports Arena will make a valuable contribution to the city as a whole, not least towards our aim of becoming a smart and sustainable city.

“I know how incredibly challenging it was for the team to deliver in the timescales available, so I wholeheartedly commend everyone involved in making it happen.”