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SOLAR thermal panels have started to heat a swimming pool in Swansea – one of several low-carbon measures being installed at the city’s leisure centres.

The new roof panels at Penyrheol Leisure Centre are part of a £5.1m investment at seven venues by a group called Freedom Leisure.

The not-for-profit group took over the running of the leisure and sports centes, including the flagship LC, from Swansea Council last year.

New solar photovoltaic panels installed at Morriston and Penlan’s leisure centres are generating electricity.

Contractors are adding other energy-saving measures such as LED lighting, air source heating, and “low flow” showers.

Freedom Leisure area manager Nic Beggs said: “We hope to have all improvements complete by the end of 2019 and, while most work is planned outside of opening hours, we would like to thank our customers for their support during this time.”

The other venues it runs on behalf of the council are Cefn Hengoed Leisure Centre, Elba Sports Complex, and Bishopston Sports Centre.

The investment will also fund maintenance backlogs and upgrades including extra gym and fitness space, new mezzanine floors, better changing rooms, more welcoming entrances, and new catering services.

Penyrheol Leisure Centre will have the most money spent on it followed by Penlan Leisure Centre and the LC.

Freedom Leisure was provided the £5.1m by the council but will repay it as part of its 19-and-a-half-year lease.

Councillor Robert Francis-Davies, cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, welcomed the low-carbon work which was taking place.

“It’s good use of part of the £5.1m improvements pledge we made to our leisure centre users,” he said.

“It’s good for the environment and good for the sustainability of important local services.”

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