Solar Panel Installation at St. George’s Church, Rugby

St George’s Church in the town of Rugby will soon be a lot more sustainable thanks to Warwickshire County Council’s Green Shoots Fund.

St George’s Church was successful in their Green Shoots bid for £23,000 in funding to deliver:

  • The fitting of solar panels on the roof of St George’s Church
  • Up to 25kW of renewable energy, the majority of which being exported back into the local grid, increasing the national renewable energy proportion
  • Power to heat the church hall during the winter months, using the energy generated by the solar panels

The three key outcomes that will be delivered by these upgrades are:

  1. A proportion of the electricity generated being used to power the air source heat pump, lighting and appliances within the church hall, which is well-used by the community, minimising fuel bills.
  2. Generating power for the wider community by exporting the remaining electricity into the local grid.
  3. A saving of 168 tCO2 over a 25-year proposed lifespan of the installation.

The story began when St George’s Church initially communicated their desire to reach net zero by 2030 in the parish newsletter LINK, which is delivered to 1500 households. In response to the newsletter, a resident informed the church of Warwickshire’s Green Shoots Fund, at which point the project began to take shape.

The roof of St George’s Church was identified to be an ideal installation place for solar panels, with over 400 square meters of flat surface allowing the installation of 70 panels.

St George’s Church is backing the Church of England’s pledge to be carbon neutral by 2030 and this project is seen as part of that target. The church has been developing awareness of environmental issues within the community as well as encouraging residents to engage fully in protecting the environment.

The long-term effects of the project could well be significant. Assuming a 25-year lifespan, the project will offer a saving of 168 tCO2.

A proportion of the electricity generated will be used to power the heat pump, lights and appliances within the church hall, which accommodates a wide range of community groups, from a regular playgroup to Brownies, coffee mornings and yoga classes.

The project will reduce the church’s energy bills and minimise the impact future energy price rises may have, as the solar installation will provide a sustainable source of power.

It’s estimated that the church will use a quarter of the electricity generated by the solar installation within the church and hall, with the remainder being exported back into the grid to benefit the local community.

Work on the church is expected to be completed in February 2022.

Phil Hemsley, member of the Parochial Church Council at St George’s Church, Rugby, said: “Climate change is such a critical issue that we all need to do all that we can. At St George’s we can see how to actually become carbon negative using heat pumps for heating, LED lighting and by generating electricity from solar panels, and reducing heat loss by improved glazing. 

As with similar community focused projects, this all needs funding and this important solar PV project would not have proceeded without the Green Shoots grant. We are looking forward to turning some of next year’s sunshine into electricity and hoping that future Green Shoots grants might help us turn some of our other projects into a reality.”

Further information about St George’s Church, Rugby, can be found here: St George's Church Rugby

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