The building - St Anne’s goes greener

“Shrinking the Footprint” is the Church of England’s campaign to urge all Christians and others, to consider carefully their response to climate warming and to reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide (the carbon “footprint”). The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has encouraged us to take a walk to remind ourselves that we are part of wider creation. The current climate change situation is such that it will be a long walk - simply to restore the world’s balance we need to cut carbon emissions worldwide by 80% of current levels by 2050.

To see what could be done at St. Anne's a feasibility study was undertaken. Photovoltaic(pv) panels were considered the best option for our all electric church. PV panels convert the Sun’s energy into electricity which, when it is not used in the church, is exported to the electricity grid. For the technically minded, there are 45 pv panels on the South roof, covering it almost entirely, which can generate a peak power of 8.2 kW. The average power, of course, is a lot less, but in a year we expect to generate 7,000 kWh, saving about 4 tonnes per year of Carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere. The pv panels will export power over the life of the panels which is 25 years, during which time we will have saved over 100 tonnes of carbon dioxide emission and about 50% of our carbon footprint.

The photos below show the work done in installing the PV panels in late August/early September 2010. After final checks by our architect, and the commissioning tests all completed, the panels were switched on, on 8th September 2010. A display panel in the church shows how much electric power is being produced, the total power generated and the carbon dioxide saved.

Update-September 2015

After five complete years of operation  46,890 kWh of electricity have been produced, preventing 20.2 tonnes of CO2 going into the atmosphere and saving  64% of our carbon footprint of electricity use. We had a slight hiccough in July 2015, when we noticed one of the two inverters had failed. This was quickly realised and the inverter replaced under guarantee and within a couple of weeks we were back producing power at the expeced rate.

Since our aim was to reduce our footprint to half , we are more than succeeding!

Taking delivery of the solar panels

Drilling hole for the fixing bolts

Fitting the support frame

Panels on the scaffolding and being placed on the roof frames

The fish who has been on his lofty perch for 50 yearsviews the proceedings with some arrogance

Nathan Bragg, Micrgeneration's technician, wiring up the inverter.

PV panels in place

Fr. Steve and Nathan looking at a job well done!