With Sunday churchgoing on the decline and churches regularly converted into trendy apartments, bars and nightclubs it perhaps comes as no surprise that around 44 per cent of Church of England dioceses are running deficits. However, a report released by British Gas has showed that the installation of solar panels on religious buildings could see the generation of around £30 million across the UK.
Utilising the feed-in tariff mechanism, the British Gas report suggests that the feed-in tariff scheme would not only provide a steady revenue stream for religious buildings in need of cash but also save up to around £5 million on electricity overheads with energy coming directly from the solar panels installed on the roof.
British Gas, who have already begun installing panels on the rooves of religious buildings see a huge potential both in carbon emission reduction and savings,
“These potential savings are great news for the UK’s religious buildings and their congregations, and give them the opportunity to lead their communities in tackling climate change and helping Britain move towards a low carbon society. Religious buildings are particularly well suited to solar power as they tend to have large south-facing rooves which receive direct sunlight for the main part of the day” commented MD of British Gas, Phil Bentley.
“The Government’s Feed-In Tariff scheme is the key to unlocking the potential of solar power in Britain. As Britain’s energy company, we at British Gas are committed to helping households, business and community and faith groups make the most of this opportunity to cut their carbon footprint and earn money for the electricity they generate,” he added.
Already up and running on the new scheme is the St Silas church in Pentonville, London which is using a PV tiled roof to take advantage of the feed-in tariff mechanism. Taking time out to praise the scheme, Father Paul Richards of St Silas Church stated,
“The Church of England is committed to saving energy and becoming greener throughout the UK and the potential for solar panels on our churches is an exciting prospect. Even though not all UK churches could adopt this model due to planning and architectural conservation laws, there may be thousands of Church of England buildings out there that could help create a greener future by generating clean energy as well as some much needed income.”