DESPITE a damp and miserable summer, solar panels at the Geoff Moulder Leisure Complex have still been a shining success.
The 200 solar panels on the roof complex have performed well above expectations. The 50 kW solar PV system is not only generating more electricity than forecast but also helping to combat climate change and provide a long-term income stream for the council.
Boston Borough Council leader, Cllr Peter Bedford said: "Renewable energy sometimes gets a bad press, but this has not been borne out by our experiences with this system.
"Building on the success of the solar investment, we are currently exploring the option of installing carbon neutral biomass (wood fuelled) heating at the complex to help tackle our large gas bills and also to provide a hedge against uncertainties in the global energy markets."
Since installation of the solar panels during the snowfall of mid-February the system has produced a benefit of £16,313 against a predicted £13,507, generating a total of 41,110 kWh and saving 26.6 tonnes of global-warming carbon dioxide from going up the chimneys.
On sunny days the solar panels have produced 46 kilowatts - the pools' main circulating pumps run on 11 kilowatts.
Visitors to the centre have been interested in a monitor which automatically updates real-time information about how the solar system is performing.
A heat-recovery system has also been installed to maximise heat generated in the training pool. A state-of-the-art heat exchanger sucks the heat out of moist air evaporating from the pool surface, removes the moisture to control humidity, mixes the warm air with fresh air from outside and blows warm air back into the pool hall through vents at roof level.
The system is computer controlled and automatically switches itself on and off to run at peak efficiency.
The latest improvement at the complex followed refurbishment of the training pool and repairs to the roof, heat-retaining thermal covers for the two main pools, the flume and the children's pool and self-dimming lights reducing the centre's electricity needs by 18 per cent during the day and 29 per cent at night.
The covers reduce evaporation by 90 per cent and save 40 per cent of heating costs.
The main gym has been refurbished and some new equipment installed, including cardio vascular equipment where the user generates their own electricity for the equipments' onscreen TVs and displays.
And in another example of partnership working the council has joined forces with volunteers from Boston Greenscapers to tackle a major project to turn a disused area at the back of the pool into a community garden.