Solar panels on the roof of the Winchester Sport and Leisure Park. Image: Winchester City Council.

Winchester Sport and Leisure Park is now one of the greenest buildings in the south of England, as its solar panels are installed.

Owned by Winchester City Council, the site now has more than 400 PV panels on the roof of the fitness suite and sports hall, which will generate 156,350 kilowatts of electricity a year.

This is enough green power for all the lighting in the main swimming pool hall for 21.5 hours a day, the council said.

Cllr Malcolm Prince, cabinet member for sport, leisure and communities, said: “Having stood atop of the leisure centre recently to inspect the panels, I can proudly say the new Winchester Sport & Leisure Park will be one of the most innovative and environmentally friendly buildings across the south.

“Installation of the panels is just one way the council is continuing its commitment to reduce our impact on the environment. Climate change affects all of us, and now, just over a year since we declared a climate emergency, this building plays an important role in our ability to provide sufficient energy for the leisure facility and help reduce the district’s Co2 emissions.”

Along with the solar panels, a number of carbon reduction steps have been taken, include solar control glazing and the use of combined heat and power.

The council has previously supported solar power, including approving a 40MW site on the Southwick Estate, just north of Portsmouth.

Willmott Dixon completed the installation at the sports park, and has worked with a number of councils to install solar panels, including an installation at the £23 million Hart Leisure Centre in Hampshire.

Richard Poulter, managing director of the developer, said they were proud to have achieve this “significant green milestone”.

“Despite COVID-19 we have kept the site open by making substantial changes to how the project's workforce could continue safely.”