Joju Solar installed solar on Godalming Leisure Centre

Leisure Centres and Solar – Funding the Future of Community Facilities

Leisure centres are often at the very heart of our communities. They provide a chance for us to focus on fitness and wellbeing and in many cases, leisure centres include a pool. This gives people the opportunity to learn to swim, to get involved in swimming classes, or to make time for a sport that can be both relaxing and invigorating for all ages.

However, if you think about how much energy it takes to operate a leisure centre with a pool, you’re probably right in imagining it doesn’t come cheap.

Counting the cost

Last year, the Local Government Chronicle reported that the Local Government Association and UK Active, (a group committed to getting “more people more active more often”), received “significant anecdotal information” from councils and providers that the energy issue is “driving decisions about facility closures or reduced opening hours”.

A survey of its members revealed the average energy bill was £3.2m in 2022. This represents a 113% increase compared to the £1.5m average cost for each Centre in 2019. 2023 costs are predicted to escalate to at least £3.3m, so what does this mean for the future of these facilities?

Financing the future

Back in the Spring, the Chancellor announced the Swimming Pool Support Fund (SPSF), making £60 million available to support facilities with swimming pools.  The funding was split into two phases. Phase I offered £20 million of revenue for facilities facing increased cost pressures which left them vulnerable to closure or significant service reduction. Monies from this phase have been allocated in full.

The second phase allocates £40 million in capital investment to improve the energy efficiency of public facilities with pools, in the medium to long term. Allocation of these funds will be confirmed by the end of January 2024. Applications closed in late October.

Sport England also made £20m of Lottery funding available to complement the government’s £40m capital fund, increasing the number of facilities benefiting from these improvements. They are administering the fund too.

At Joju, we’ve been helping leisure centres install solar for several years now, to improve energy efficiency and cut operational energy costs. We’ve supported leisure centres all across the UK, including Godalming Leisure Centre, Xcel Leisure Centre and Bridport Leisure Centre .


Working together

If you’ve received, or are about to receive, funding from the Swimming Pool Support Fund and are looking for ways to improve the energy efficiency of your leisure centre building, do let us know. We’re experts at working with public sector organisations and when it comes to the installation of solar on leisure centres, we have the experience to make the whole process hassle free from beginning to end.

As well as design and installation expertise, we understand how important it is for the Centre to remain open, as normal, throughout the project. The way we manage every installation always makes sure this is the case.


S Georges' SPorts Centre, Scott Brown Rigg, Architects

Community funding

If you discover your leisure centre hasn’t been successful in the application for funding, all is not lost. When it comes to improving energy efficiency, cutting costs, and reducing carbon, we’ve been helping community buildings fund solar in a different way for many years. In fact, we helped develop community energy schemes, having installed the very first community-funded installation in Oxford in 2008.

A community energy approach means clean generation is owned by, and benefits, the local community. It’s the way Bridport Leisure Centre’s solar array was funded and at Joju, we’re incredibly experienced and well connected within the community energy sector. There’s no-one better placed to explore the funding of your solar project in this way, meaning you won’t pay a penny. You can read more about our community energy experience and find out more detail about community energy schemes, here.


Joju Solar installation on Bridport Leisure Centre

A bright future?

All in all, when it comes to funding solar energy on leisure centres, the future can certainly be bright! The SPSF will deliver more support for solar to reduce costs through clean, green energy created by the sun.

Community energy could also help to support your plans, if you’re a council or leisure centre who has not had government or Sport England funding awarded to you.

For a chat about how we could help your Leisure Centre work towards a brighter funded future, please do get in touch.

An iconic and award-winning install

Installing solar PV on Salisbury Cathedral was always iconic… and now it’s award-winning too!

We’ve just won the Alan Clark Award for Local/Community Energy at the Solar and Storage Live Awards, 2021 – and it’s an honour to receive it.

Community energy is something we’ve championed from the very beginning. It’s at the heart of who we are. We built the first community share-funded solar installation back in 2008, and the schemes are a fantastic way of getting renewable energy projects built at scale, within a local area, with local shareholders benefitting from the income generated.

Solar on Salisbury Cathedral

In the case of Salisbury Cathedral, a new group, Salisbury Community Energy, approached the Cathedral and we became involved via the Schools Energy Coop. We came up with a design that met the ecclesiastic planning committee’s stringent requirements and once approved, it was full steam ahead with the install.

You can read about the project in more detail here and as the Bishop of Salisbury put it,

“With clear purpose and helpful partnerships even iconic buildings can make a difference towards sustainability.”

Being recognised for our part in this historic project, alongside Salisbury Community Energy, certainly means a lot to us.


Solar And Storage LIVE, Contractor of the Year, 2020, Winner, Award

Joju Solar does the Double

Joju Solar has won ‘Contractor of the Year’ at the prestigious Solar & Storage LIVE awards, to add to the ‘EV Charge point Contractor of the Year’ title secured at the EVIEs last month.

The winners were announced on Friday, at the close of a three-day online conference and the awards now put Joju at the top of the pile across all their product offerings – solar PV, battery storage and EV charging infrastructure.

“Winning the Solar & Storage LIVE Contractor of the Year has been a long-held ambition and it feels amazing”, said Joju Solar Co-founder and Technical Director, Dr Chris Jardine.

“We’ve been working in the low carbon technology space for 14 years and this recognition is testament to the hard work put in by our team over that entire period – continually improving both technically and in terms of the service we offer.”

Joju Solar were recognised for their work on helping hundreds of homes reduce their carbon footprint, through solar, storage and EV charging.  Additionally, it has been an intensive year delivering community energy projects.  We installed 2MW of solar PV for Egni Coop in Wales, including the largest solar roof in Wales, at Newport’s Geraint Thomas Velodrome.  This project won the Community Energy Award at the Solar and Storage LIVE awards in its own right.  Other highlights in 2020 include a 39kW community-owned solar PV array on the roof of Salisbury Cathedral.

Joju is also working with more than 80 councils nationwide to install EV charge point infrastructure, simplifying the process and allowing councils to deploy charging infrastructure across their region without spending a penny.

“It’s very pleasing to be recognised across all our product offerings as offering excellent service in what we do.” said Chris.  “But this is still very much the beginning – the climate crisis hasn’t gone away; we still need lots more renewable capacity; and a complete electric transport revolution needs to happen in the next decade.  That’s always been our mission”

Octopus Energy Launch the Tesla Energy Plan


Octopus Energy’s Tesla Energy Plan has now ceased.  It has now been superceded by Octopus Flux.  Octopus Flux is an innovative electricity tariff that changes import and export tariffs throughout the day.  You can top up your battery with cheap electricity in the middle of the night, and earn money by discharging your battery to the grid at peak times.  Read our guide to Octopus Flux here.