Bishop Trevor blesses photovoltaic panels on Kent’s first carbon neutral church

The Bishop of Dover, the Right Reverend Trevor Willmott blessed a solar photovoltaic system on the roof of a thirteenth century Grade one listed church, this Sunday (May 13). The recent installation of the PV panels has made the church of St Anthony’s in Alkham, Kent’s first carbon neutral church.The service concluded with Bishop Trevor, dressed in his alb, chasuble and mitre, climbing a 12 foot ladder onto the south aisle where, watched by the congregation, he stood to bless the panels.

The sixteen panel array at St Anthony’s church, Alkham, will produce some 3,300 kilowatt hours per year of renewable electricity; about the same as that consumed by the average UK house. Over the PV system’s anticipated 25 years of life, the carbon dioxide emissions savings will amount to some forty-two tonnes. Since the church’s energy consumption is low, it means that St Anthony’s will now overall be carbon neutral.

The project has taken about eighteen months to complete. Mr Geoff Gaskill, churchwarden and project leader, commented: “Being oriented east-west, all churches have a south facing roof. St Anthony’s has a south aisle roof hidden from view by a surrounding parapet – a perfect location for solar PV and which preserves the natural beauty of the building.”

Speaking after the event Bishop Trevor said: “As Christians we believe we have a responsibility to look after the planet for the sake of future generations and the Church of England is committed to reducing the carbon footprint of churches by 42% by 2020. Installing solar panels means this 13th century church is the first carbon neutral church in Kent and demonstrates how a practical step can make a big difference to the environment.”

Mr Gaskill added: “Hopefully other churches in the diocese will gain encouragement and follow our lead.”

Ends

Further information from:
Emily Shepherd, Director of Communications, Canterbury Diocese 01227 459 401, 07876 210 446, eshepherd@diocant.org

More info about the Church of England environmental campaign: http://www.shrinkingthefootprint.org/

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