COUNTY waste facilities, including those in Sleaford, are now generating their own power as well as recycling thanks to a £300,000 project.
Nearly 1,250 panels have been installed at centres across Lincolnshire in a project carried out by solar energy experts Freewatt.
Systems of 50kW have been fitted at the waste transfer stations in Louth, Sleaford, Grantham and Gainsborough. A 10kW system has been fitted at Boston transfer station and a further 50kW at Louth household waste recycling centre.
The project means the waste centres will now generate 260,000kW of electricity a year and save a total of 126 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.
Work was carried out as part of the Lincolnshire County Council's Carbon Management Plan, which has set a target of reducing emissions by 22 per cent by 2018.
The council has already invested £1.9 million in energy saving measures and has installed 700kW of solar PV on buildings and schools.
Environmental services team leader at Lincolnshire County Council, Mike Reed, said: "We have a legal and moral commitment to reduce our carbon footprint over the coming years and the panels that Freewatt has installed at our Waste Transfer Stations will help us to achieve this.
"However, we're not just using green technology for environmental reasons - there are clear financial incentives too. These panels will save us a huge amount of money over their lifetime which means that this venture represents a positive step forward in the fight against climate change and a very sound investment on behalf of local taxpayers too."
Freewatt's work on the six sites was completed in just 14 weeks and cost around £300,000. The council will save around £15,000 a year in electricity costs alone.
When coupled with the income from the Feed in Tariff (FiT) the whole project is expected to pay for itself in less than seven years. The council will benefit from the FiT and reduction in costs for 20 years.
The power generated at the sites will be used to operate machinery and lighting and the council expect the waste transfer stations to be able to generate enough power to no longer need electricity from the grid.
The installation is the latest in a series of projects carried out by Stow-based Freewatt for the council. The company has already fitted solar panels on 16 fire stations around the county.
Freewatt MD Julian Patrick, said: "It's always great to work on a project that not only improves the environment but has a positive outcome for taxpayers too.
"We expect the panels to be generating income for the council for many years after they have paid off the initial investment.
"It's fitting that the council's attempts to tackle the problems of waste management, which has a direct impact on the planet, are now being powered by the clean energy."