A COMMUNITY centre has found an enlightening solution to soaring power bills after having solar panels installed.

Managers at Firthmoor Community Centre came up with the eco-friendly solution after seeing their annual electricity bills rising from £6,000 to £8,000 in only four years.

The centre has received an £8,750 grant from the Big Lottery For All Fund towards the cost of installing the photovoltaic panels on the south-facing sides of the centre's roof to turn sunlight into electricity.

The grant is being matched by a loan from the Pure Community Energy Fund, a scheme which provides low-interest loans for small-scale renewable energy projects in order to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change.

Work is due to be completed in the next few days, meaning the centre will benefit before the Government reduces its feed-in tariffs, which is the amount of money individuals and organisations receive from feeding electricity back into the National Grid.

Kevin Nicholson, association chairman, said "Our annual energy bills have increased so much in the last five years that we needed to do something just to survive.

"Thankfully, we have secured this funding support in the nick of time before the Government's feed-in tariffs are dramatically reduced in December.

"It’s not just economics, however, which have driven this project - as a community charity we have a duty to lead the way in the adopting renewable sources of energy and to raise awareness about the need to save the planet.”