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RiversMeet solar panels
Steven Hardman, chief executive officer, Conrad Energy and Simon Ward, trustee, Riversmeet Community and Leisure Trust.

Gillingham’s RiversMeet leisure centre has completed its project with an energy company to install solar panels to help cut electricity bills.

Under the arrangement with Conrad Energy a total of 528 panels have been installed on the roof at RiversMeet, generating what the company itself calls ‘significant’ cost and carbon savings.

The panels are capable of producing in the region of 230,000 kWh of energy per year.

The deal between RiversMeet and Conrad Energy is what is known as a ‘fully funded’ contract. The panels and equipment were paid for and installed by Conrad Energy, and the firm then recoups its investment by charging a small amount on the energy generated.

This meant that the body that runs RiversMeet – the Gillingham Community and Leisure Trust – did not have to to raise more funds before completing its landmark energy-saving project.

Conrad Energy, a portfolio company of I Squared Capital, a US-based, global infrastructure fund with $13.3 billion of assets under management, said it was ‘very proud’ to be part of celebrations last week to mark the end of the solar panel installation project.

A spokesperson for Conrad said: ‘The centre is a truly fantastic example of what is possible when holistic long-term thinking, funding and a committed team of experts come together.

‘With community and sustainability at the heart of their decision making, they have been blazing a trail for others to follow.

‘Their whole-building approach to energy planning has seen them cut their energy demands by around 50 percent since 2019 through changes to pool heating, ventilation and chlorination, lighting and showers. We have been hugely impressed with what the team here have achieved and we’ve learned a few things that we can share with others, especially when it comes to making swimming pools more eco-friendly.’

It said the ‘ final piece of the puzzle’ was the installation of solar panels for the roof.

Conrad Energy’s chief executive, Steven Hardman, said: ‘This kind of overhaul is a huge undertaking, and for the team here at Gillingham Community and Leisure Trust to have had the vision, pulled the team together and brought the whole thing into reality is truly remarkable.

‘Conrad Energy are absolutely delighted to have been able to provide the solution that completes the project and look forward to a long-standing partnership with RiversMeet.’

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