Sunday, 25 July 2010

Solar panels ‘could raise £34m’ for places of worship

Installing solar panels on British churches and other religious buildings could raise £34 million per year through Feed-in Tariff (FiT) payments and electricity bill savings, according to figures released by British Gas.

According to data based on the company's Green Streets programme, published this week (July 12), the renewable technology could generate more than £29 million-a-year for places of worship through FiTs and save nearly £5 million a year by not having to buy electricity.

The Feed-in Tariff scheme was launched in April this year and provides fixed, technology-dependent payments to individuals, organisations and businesses who install renewable electricity generators for every unit of electricity they produce (see this story). Under the scheme, solar photovoltaic (PV) tariffs peak at 41.3p/kWh - the highest available tariff.

The British Gas Green Streets programme - which provides £2 million to fund microgeneration and energy efficiency measures to help 14 communities around the UK save and generate energy - has both a church and a mosque involved in the project and the figures revealed here are based on real life examples of the potential savings of these buildings. These were then extrapolated to take account of the number of churches and mosques in the UK and their average congregation.

British Gas notes that the savings and money-making potential identified will be "a welcome revelation" to religious buildings which have been hit by the recession, claiming a recent report found that a quarter of all Church of England dioceses are currently facing budget deficits.

The figures also show that the CO2 savings of installing solar panels could also be significant, with savings of up to 42,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year.
full article

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