CALLS are being made by an environmental group for solar panels to be installed on all new council buildings.
Gosport and Fareham Friends of the Earth has urged authorities to put the energy-gathering devices on all south-facing roofs.
The group made the calls on the back of the new £9m Holy Hill Leisure Centre being built by Fareham Borough Council in Sarisbury Green, which is currently under construction and is due for completion this summer but will not have solar panels on its roof.
Norman Pasley, from the group, said: ‘In our view, solar energy is a gift that no council should ignore, and every new building should be designed and assessed for its potential to deliver a better future.’
Mr Pasley praised the Fareham Reach Business Park, on the A32, for fitting 90 panels to its building and he said a planning application is in for solar panels on a large building in Segensworth West.
He said: ‘New solar panels are appearing across the borough as more and more households see the opportunity to generate clean electricity and reduce their dependence on fossil fuels.
‘The Holly Hill Leisure Centre is under construction. Why not take the opportunity to capture energy directly from the sun by incorporating solar panels?’
Fareham’s council leader, Cllr Sean Woodward said installing the panels at Holly Hill Leisure Centre had been considered but it was not suitable.
He said: ‘The building was designed to British Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology ‘Very Good’.
‘This standard means it will sit in the top 25 per cent of newly constructed non-domestic buildings for energy efficiency in the whole of the UK.’
He said a ‘thorough investigation’ had taken place into the centre’s energy efficiency and that it had opted for a combined heating and power unit, which generates electricity while also capturing usable heat produced in the process.
He added: ‘Like Friends of the Earth, the council is a strong advocate of sustainable energy sources and has used solar panels on buildings where it is appropriate.
‘A good example of this is the Innovation Centre at Daedalus. Other examples include the council depot at Broadcut and Portchester Community Centre.’