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A Win All Round for the 'green church'

The Church in the Diocese of Bath and Wells has stepped up its solar panel initiative to shrink its carbon footprint.

Sixty vicarages and rectories throughout the Diocese are being fitted with photovoltaic panels to save more than 104 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. At the same time the £420,000 scheme, which will be completed by the end of this month (February), will make the Church money.

Diocesan Surveyor Paul Toseland explained: “We borrowed funds for the panels at a very preferential rate and over 25 years expect a return of  between 11 and 20 per cent. More important than that, it is part of our determination to be as green as we can.  We are not only playing our part in helping the environment we are also setting an example.”

The Diocese will potentially receive the Feed in Tariff of 43 pence per KWh and the priests will receive free electricity. The scheme is linked to Ecochurch South West, a partnership between the dioceses of Bath and Wells, Exeter and Gloucester with green energy supplier Ecotricity.

One of the Vicarages being fitted with the panels is in Minehead. Priest in Charge, Revd Penelope Dobbin said: “It’s a marvellous idea which will play a significant part in cutting the carbon and helping the environment.

"It’s a win all round – we know the energy is green, vicars’ fuel bills are reduced and the Diocese will make some money too.”

The vicarages and rectories being fitted with PV panels are scattered over most areas of the Diocese, including, as well as Minehead, Alcombe, Westfiled, Yatton, plus Tauton and Bath and their surrounding areas. Several churches are also considering fitting PV panels.

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