TWO solar photovoltaics (PV’s) have been successfully commissioned to be installed at community sports centres in Chester.

The solar panels, which will convert sunlight into electricity, have been commissioned by Chester Community Energy Ltd (CCEL) to be put into Christleton and Neston Sports Centres.

Both projects are the result of partnerships between Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC), Brio Leisure, and the local electrical contractor, Genfit.

Chester MP, Chris Matheson, was among those marking the occasion at Christleton Sports Centre, alongside the CWAC councillors Richard Beacham and Matt Bryan and representatives from Brio Leisure, Genfit and CCEL.

Graham Booth, speaking on behalf of Stephen Savory, who project managed the schemes for CCEL said: “The successful installation of the schemes was the culmination of 12 months of preparation, planning and fundraising work carried out mainly by volunteers at minimal cost.

“I would like to thank all of our partners who have been brilliant from the start, with a special mention for Genfit Ltd who have installed both projects within 9 working days and our elected representatives who attended today and continue to support our work.”

Chris Matheson MP, an advocate of community based enterprises, added his hopes that these local projects can have a wider impact.

He said: “I am concerned that we are not making nearly enough progress in terms of sustainability and responses to the global climate crises.

“But any response that we can achieve is better than no response, and often it will be the local solutions such as this solar power project that will make a difference.”

Matt Bryan, who leads CWAC’s climate emergency taskforce, was also upbeat about collaborating with the voluntary sector.

He added: “This scheme has probably been the best that we have seen in Cheshire. We’ve managed to roll out three solar PV’s now – we’ve had Northgate, here (Christleton), and in Neston.

Both projects have installed capacity of 59.9 kilowatts peak (kWp) and are predicted to generate 48,000 kilowatt hours of electricity in the first year, with a one percent annual decrease in output over the 25 year life span of the solar panels.

The pollution free solar panels only require one routine inspection per year and are estimated to save up to 560 tonnes of CO2 over their lifetimes based on the present electricity generating mix.

All the electricity can be used by the sports centres, who purchase the electricity from CCEL under a power purchase agreement which is designed to save the centres significant costs as the price per unit is much lower than the grid price paid to their electricity supplier.

CCEL has awarded grants totalling £6,000 in the last two years to community based organisations to reduce their energy use and costs.

It is also in the process of introducing a scheme to replace old lighting in public buildings with LED lighting which saves at least 50 per cent on power.