The South West Sports Centre is set to become the first recreation centre in the Southern Hemisphere to install state-of-the-art solar panels.

The Royalties for Regions funded project will consist of an amazing 240 solar panels, the equivalent of 7200 tubes, which will be installed on the roof of the sports centre over the next six to eight weeks. As well as saving on heating costs, the centre will become more environmentally friendly.

The centre will use the solar panels to heat its indoor pools, with the evacuated glass tubes generating about 550KW of energy per day once installed.

It converts solar energy as well as UV light, so even on an overcast day the panels will be in use.

The circular design means the tubes can harness the sun’s energy throughout the day.

They are up to 80 per cent more efficient than flat plate solar collectors which are more commonly used in Australia.

Supreme heating WA distributor Craig Doncon said the panels would have the potential to provide hot water to the whole centre.

‘‘If we put an additional 60 panels it would potentially be enough energy for the entire hot water demand at the facility,’’ Mr Doncon said.

‘‘The frames are on 30 degrees for optimum solar performance over 12 months.’’ Mr Doncon is hopeful recreation centres around the State will follow Bunbury’s lead.

‘‘I think it will take off,’’ he said.

‘‘This technology has been around in Europe for a long time but we are only just starting to discover the potential of it in Australia.’’

Supreme Heating was awarded the tender last year, with Mr Doncon supervising a team of six to make sure the project runs smoothly.

The project is expected to be completed by the end of February.