Solar panels for Norfolk church roofs?
A UEA philosophy professor and former Member of the European Parliament has proposed covering the roofs of every Norfolk church in solar panels.
Professor Catherine Rowett, who represented the East of England in Brussels from May 2019 to January 2020, said installing panels on churches for community energy use was a “win-win situation” for all involved.
The idea was floated at a recent debate organised by the Norwich Society, where prof Rowett - a Green Party member – pointed out that church roofs were the ideal location because they all have a huge, south-facing roof, and that there are systems that are compatible with heritage regulations.
She added churches could strive to become not just carbon-neutral, but provide energy benefits to the communities they serve too, such as through electric minibuses.
The idea of installing panels on churches was welcomed this week by the Diocese of Norwich - whose Bishop, Graham Usher, has been appointed by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby as lead bishop for the environment. As a former ecologist, Bishop Usher has been tasked with finding innovative ways to respond to climate change - raising the question of whether solar projects could be included among them.
Barbara Bryant, a member of the diocese’s environment working group, said that churches have always been adapted down the centuries and that the challenge for today’s worshippers was to find ways to enable this ongoing change to happen sustainably. The Diocese was actively supporting church communities who are seeking to do this in imaginative and creative ways.
The idea of churches and other religious buildings playing host to solar panels is not a completely new one as Gloucester and Salisbury’s cathedrals have had panels on their rooftops since 2016 and 2020, respectively.
The above image is from pixabay.com
This story is based on an article in the Eastern Daily Press.