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Last Updated: Friday, 22 October, 2004, 14:28 GMT 15:28 UK
Solar power 3.5m centre to open
A 3.5m business centre which uses the sun's rays to supply much of its energy needs is about to open.

Gateshead Council claims its new International Business Centre is the first council-owned building in the region to generate its own electricity.

The centre at Mulgrave Terrace is due to open next month and officials are hoping it will attract foreign media and creative businesses to the region.

The project has received financial investment from One NorthEast.

'Energy efficient'

A council spokeswoman said: "The aim of the centre is to attract overseas investors and market Gateshead as a business venue around the world.

"We believe it is probably the most energy efficient building in the north."

The building is fitted with 36 glass solar panels generating up to 34W of electricity per hour, which together with other energy-saving measures is enough to power the centre's heating and cooling system.

The project has also been backed by the TyneWear Partnership and the Government Office North East.





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