SOLAR panels costing more than £18,000 have been installed on the roof of Chorley Town Hall in a bid to cut electricity bills, and bring in an income.

Forty-five panels have been put on the angled roof of the landmark building, and the electricity they generate will be used to run appliances and lighting at the civic offices.

The unused electricity the system is expected to generate will then be sold back to the National Grid.

The 10 kilowatt system, on the St Thomas's Road side of the town hall, is expected to add more than £71,000 to the council's coffers over the next 30 years. It also means the council will cut its carbon footprint by reducing its Co2 emissions.

Coun Peter Wilson, who is responsible for the council’s buildings, said: “We are constantly looking at ways we can make savings and this way we can reduce our carbon emissions, and also generate some money for the council.

“The solar panels on the town hall roof will convert sunlight into electricity which we can then use within the the building.

“Any unused electricity will then be sold back to the national grid at a fixed rate price to generate an income.

“The panels have cost a little over £18,500 to install but by selling our excess electricity we will not only recoup that cost, we will also generate an income of over £71,000 over the next 30 years.

“And we also expect to cut our Co2 emissions by more than 90 tonnes.”

The PV panels on the Town Hall roof are the latest measures introduced by the council, in partnership with its property services team Liberata, to cut carbon emissions and save money.

In 2009 new lighting and insulation was installed in the council's leisure centres which cut Co2 by nearly 334 tonnes and bills by nearly £62,000.

Plans have also been discussed about possible installation of similar panels on the civic offices in Union Street but that is a flat roof and solar panels need to be at an angle of 30 to 35 degrees for optimum performance.

An installation there would require specialist frames.