As you walk down the Grove you probably won’t be aware that Christchurch has been generating electricity since 2015. It has an array of solar panels on its south facing roof roof so not visible from the Grove. Here is a report:-
Christchurch: A Solar Electric Power Company
Yes, Christchurch is producing and selling electricity. When our new roof was being installed in 2013 we decided to put photovoltaic cells on the south facing roof. They were wonderfully oriented toward the sun to take in light energy and convert it into electricity. With long sunny days in the spring/summer our solar cells make lots of electricity; less so in the shorter, cloud filled days from November to March, but still a bit. Magic!
Not only do we get paid for the amount of electricity generated, called the ‘Feed-in Tariff’, this electricity runs throughout the whole church and helps to power our kettles and dishwashers and lights from Dan’s Dean through the Café to the Lower Hall and the Sanctuary. As a result our church’s electricity bill is less than if we did not have the solar cells. And any electricity left over, that we do not use goes to the National Electricity Grid.
We got our first ‘Feed-in Tariff’ statement in November 2015. By then we had generated 7726 kWh of electricity and were paid £492.92 for it. In these five years up to November 2020 we have generated a total of 51,510 kWh and have made just short of £5000.
The solar panels cost us around £16,000. So, if we average £1000 every year it will have taken us 16 years to pay off the investment. But don’t forget we are using the electricity so our electricity bills are less.
What is equally as important as the income is our contribution to the generation of green energy and thus reduced CO2 emissions. It is estimated that the average UK household electricity consumption is a bit less than 4000 kWh per year. So, with Christchurch generating, just over 50,000 kWh in five years, or approximately 10,000 kWh per year, we are providing electricity for the equivalent of two and half UK households per year. That’s two and a half households of carbon free electricity.