A DEAL is set to be signed which will see Rossendale's 'town hall' pay its way for the next 25 years.

Council bosses are putting the finishing touches to a contract which would see solar panels cover the roof of the business centre at their head-quarters at Futures Park in Bacup.

And if the projections of business director Stuart Sugarman are correct, the £176,000 investment required would generate a £100,000 profit by 2037.

The same principles are curr-ently employed, to varying deg-rees, by local housing associations such as Green Vale and Calico.

Currently the authority has a small array of panels on the Futures Park roof, generating around 2.5 kilowatts of energy.

But under the proposals 100kw would be generated – saving around £13,400 in the first year of operation and rising to around £19,000 by the 10th year.

This equates to around 50 per cent of the present electricity requirement and comes just as the council is coming to the end of its existing energy contract and is facing a possible 15 per cent hike in charges.

Mr Sugarman said in a cabinet report: "The proposed project represents a good opportunity for the council to secure and stabilise a significant part of its future energy budget.

“It would reduce the annual energy bill substantially."

The move should also boost the council's environmental cred-entials with around 1,100 tonnes of carbon estimated to be saved over the life of the contract.

Under the plans the council would enter into an agreement with Schneider Electric, which has carried out the preferred survey of the council offices.

Funding for the investment will come from the council’s capital reserves.

The benefits from such a decision would be twofold, both through a government subsidy, known as the feed-in tariff, and the estimated direct energy bill savings.