Feed-in tariffs could lead to windfall for Britain’s churches and other religious buildings


Phil Bentley,
Managing Director,
British Gas
London, U.K. — (METERING.COM) — July 13, 2010 – Britain’s churches and other religious buildings could raise £34 million a year for their coffers by installing solar panels, according to new figures from British Gas’ Green Streets program.

Of this over £29 million a year could be generated through feed-in tariffs, while further savings of nearly £5 million a year could be made by not having to buy electricity due to meeting the buildings’ energy needs through the solar panels.

Further, the CO2 savings could also be significant – up to 42,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per year, which is equivalent to the carbon emitted by over 600 transatlantic flights.

“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,” said Phil Bentley, managing director of British Gas. “Religious buildings are particularly well suited to solar power as they tend to have large south-facing roofs which receive direct sunlight for the main part of the day, and the government’s feed-in tariff scheme is the key to unlocking this potential.”

Through the Green Streets program, British Gas has started installing solar panels on religious buildings to help them raise funds through the scheme and cut their carbon footprint.  

Earlier this year, one of the U.K.’s first churches in the program, St Silas Church in Pentonville, London, began generating energy, with the majority of its south facing roof covered with specially manufactured PV tiles, designed to blend in with the surrounding Welsh slate.

In Birmingham, the Masjid-e-Hamza Mosque is awaiting the go ahead for its solar panel installation and is expected to be one of the first to benefit from feed-in tariffs, expecting to receive from them around £6,400 a year (index linked for 25 years).

According to a recent report by the accountants, Mazars, a quarter of all 44 Church of England dioceses are running deficits, and so this money making potential should be a welcome revelation.

“The potential for solar panels on our churches is an exciting prospect.” said Father Paul Richards of St Silas Church. “Even though not all U.K. 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.”

The savings estimates were made for Church of England churches, mosques, Hindu temples, Jewish synagogues, Sikh temples, and Buddhist temples across the U.K.