SOLAR panels have been fitted at leisure centres in Cherwell district in a bid to keep council electricity costs down.

Cherwell District Council spent about £1m installing the panels, which bosses say will then save a total of £84,700 a year.

They have already gone on the council’s offices at White Post Road and Woodgreen Leisure Centre, and centres in Bicester and Kidlington.

The panels will be added to Spiceball Leisure Centre, Banbury in the coming weeks.

The council said it has a guaranteed subsidy from the Government for 25 years and leisure centre electricity will be sold to Parkwood Leisure, which manages the facilities. It said the panels will be paid off within 17 years.

Lead member for clean and green Nigel Morris said: “The financial and environmental benefits of this scheme are clear. Through sound financial planning, we were in a position to take full advantage of the Government’s feed-in tariff.

“This is another example of how local authorities can be inventive in how they manage their budgets so vital services can be protected.”