We are planning to install
a 4.9kWp Solar Photovoltaic array on the roof of the South Aisle
of St Mary’s Church.
of the Process undertaken to establish the choice of Technology.
Solar PV was the
recommendation of an energy audit commissioned by St Mary’s
Environmental Group who are a group that meets regularly to
discuss and plan actions to reduce the church’s environmental
impact and to encourage others to do the same.
The energy audit was
carried out by the Local Authority's Energy Conservation
Officer. Solar PV was found to be the best option for the
church as there was generally only a small water heating
requirement and wind turbines would have planning issues, so
solar PV was the best option. It was decided to try to match
the PV max output with the max lighting load on a grid connected
of how the feasibility of the specific technology has been
The main electrical load
that the installation aims to provide, is a daytime load, as
that is when the building is most used, hence solar generation
is appropriate. The roof area is easily big enough to
accommodate the panel array. The roof area orientation is south
facing. The pitch is adequate to get an efficient generation
for sunlight. There are no shading issues.
Partners involved and the roles they play
Solstice Energy –
provision and installation of the panels, balance, set-up and
maintenance of the system.
Church Architect –
design specification for array fixings and structural survey of
church roof for plan area of installation.
Project Manager: The
project is to be managed by ................................
of the Installation
28 Suntech modules
2 Fronius inverters 4.9 kWp system generation
Grid Connected Bespoke fixings to lead flashing
rolls on church roof 35 m2 array area.
There will be a 3 phase
generation meter (Ofgem accredited) installed as part of the
system. This will be connected to a public display meter in the
main hall. Energy will be monitored after installation to
determine the need for an export meter. The installation will
be Schedule 7 compliant.
St Mary’s is looking to
install Solar PV panels as a part of an overall environmental
strategy. Our status as an Eco-congregation is imminent. We
have promoted many environmental causes such as energy
efficiency, recycling, water saving, composting, real nappies,
cycling. This has been done by many mechanisms such as a ‘YB
Green’ Environmental day – a special day to talk solely about
the aforementioned issues, special services- such a recent
service for cyclists, promotion of causes at general Sunday
services, handouts of acquired environmental tools such as hippo
bags. We now want to go one stage further by installing Solar
PV panels with a highly visual display inside the church
building. It has already been significant talking point, with
articles in local newspapers on our intent, from the Leicester
Mercury and Hinckley Times, and in the Diocese of Leicester. We
want to use this to stimulate thinking around what individuals
can do, by considering renewables, energy efficiency, offsetting
and even simple things such as switching to green renewable
tariffs, which has been a revelation to many in discussions
around the project. We want to install PV Panels to ‘lead by
example’ to help change peoples thinking in the community. (50
– 100 people use the church coffee area alone each day,
excluding services). We also want to use this as a centre piece
for our next environmental day.
There will be a large
number of people and organisations benefiting from this
initiative. The church will have a reduced electricity bill. The
large all age congregation will
also benefit. The church has 4 services every Sunday. It is an
open church used by the entire community. It has a coffee bar
that opens 7 days a week and serves approximately 400 customers
a week. The church is used for normal religious purposes and for
civic functions. The local schools
use the church facilities and plan to use the initiative for
educational purposes in projects on carbon emissions and global
warming (see letters of support from schools). In particular the
St Mary’s School – the church school situated next door to the
church makes frequent use of the church building.
The wider community is also
supporting this project. We have received letters of support
from various local business organisations. The church is also
used by a number of children and
young peoples uniformed organisations connected with the
church, such as, brownies, guides, scouts and the Church Lads
and Church Girls Brigade (marching band). Many of the
Organisations and groups that are connected with the church are
open to all: there is no requirement that they have to be
members of or attend the church. All of these groups support the
project and intend to use it as an educational tool (see
letters). The local borough council
has also given enthusiastic support to the project: the local
energy conservation consultant from the council has been
involved with the project from the beginning and we have
planning approval with full backing from the council. There is
also a supporting letter from the Mayor.
We have applied for
£13,700 (50% of the total purchase and installation cost of
£27,400) from the Low Carbon Building Programme. We expect a
decision from this in the near future.
We have donations from the local community and the church
amounting to £5,000.
The project will provide
visibility of renewable energy at work, as part of the
installation cost is a sophisticated energy monitoring scheme.
This will monitor the energy being produced by the solar PV
array and the Church’s energy use. This can be viewed
instantaneously by a wall-mounted display in the building, and
also it may be possible to remotely view via an internet site,
to be developed, (most probably part of the existing St Mary's
Internet site – see
The main reason for
planning to put PV Panels on the church roof is because of
the status of the church and its dominant position in the
town centre: it is a large building, with a tower and spire
visible for miles around. The core of the building dates
from Thirteenth & Fourteenth Centuries, with a major
restoration in the Nineteenth Century. The installation of
PV panels would make a powerful symbolic statement about the
urgent need to do everything we can to reduce carbon
emissions, and prevent further global warming - that
renewable energy technology is an achievable way forward and
a viable way to safeguard our planet.
We will be one of the few
churches in the country at present to be utilising Solar Panels,
which in itself will be a significant enough story to raise
awareness via press articles and people’s consciousness.
We also plan to produce a
detailing the project from its inception to its completion. This
will be available to schools, organisations and the local and
wider community. We hope that this will promote interest
generally in energy reduction and carbon emissions.
The estimated annual
energy yield would be 3600kwh. This equates to 1.9 tonnes of CO2
How will the project be publicised?
To coincide with the
commissioning of the panel array, we would plan another
environmental day, as stated earlier. Our previous ‘Y B Green’
day successfully achieved our objective of raising awareness of
the environmental issues and sharing participant’s best
practice. This event will provide a focus for publicising the
project: it is hoped that the local Borough Council will be
involved as last time, with two officers doing workshops on
environmental issues; local schools will be involved – there is
a church school next to the church, and as the Vicar has strong
connections several local schools it is hoped they will also
participate on the day.
The Diocese of Leicester
has a full time Communications
Officer who will help with publicity in Leicestershire and
beyond. The Diocesan Advisory Committee gave enthusiastic
backing to the project, and a Faculty for the work has been
obtained. There has already been widespread interest in the
project in the county