Report by James Franklin , Reporter
Sunday, September 16, 2012
THE church has for centuries been dedicated to preserving the souls of millions of parishioners across the country, but now it is turning its attention to the salvation of the environment.
The Diocese of Bath and Wells’ environment policy has seen it install solar panels on the roofs of 61 vicarages, with that number set to grow over the coming years.
The diocese, which covers North Somerset and Somerset, instigated the policy to minimise the effects of climate change and human activities on the environment, and it is estimated that they have produced an annual CO2 reduction of 105 tonnes so far.
With the solar PV panels installed by company The House of Solar, they are also estimated to bring in £2.3million for the diocese over 25 years through the feed-in tariff scheme which means energy produced by its panels can be sold back to energy companies.
Vicarages in Winscombe, Bleadon, Locking and Worle have all had panels fitted to their roofs and are already feeling the benefits.
The Rev Paul Larcombe, team rector at St Martin’s Church in Worle, says the initiative is already reaping benefits.
His vicarage in Church Road now has 16 panels – producing a total output of up to four kilowatts – on its roof.
He said: “There certainly seems to be a reduction in electricity bills, which is good, particularly because we are very often working in the vicarages.
“I expect in the winter we will see the benefits most.”
With environmentally-conscious technologies becoming more and more important, Rev Larcombe believes it is vital that the church stay at the vanguard of solar technology in the region.
He added: “It’s very important that the church does this and I think it’s proving to be a very successful initiative.”