Diocese of Portsmouth

    Portsmouth Cathedral installs new solar panels

    15 Oct. 2018

    PORTSMOUTH Cathedral has teamed up with Portsmouth City Council's energy services team to put a 6.6kW solar array on Cathedral House in St Thomas's Street, Old Portsmouth.

    The 24-panel array, which will generate approximately 5700kWh of renewable electricity every year, has been installed by Portsmouth-based company Space Renewables and project managed by Portsmouth City Council's energy team as part of their wider solar power initiative.

    In 2014 Portsmouth City Council rolled out their solar power programme. The aim was to reduce bills for schools, community associations and other organisations, providing cheaper, sustainable green energy. “It’s wonderful to see more and more organisations become involved with our Solar PV scheme,” said Portsmouth City Council’s Cabinet Member for Resources, Cllr Jeanette Smith. “Not only is it providing the Cathedral with sustainable green energy and lowering their carbon footprint, but it’s reducing their electricity bills and helping to bring money back into public services. I really hope other local organisations see the Cathedral as leading the way and follow suit to become greener and more energy conscious.”

    Cathedral House is a multi-use building serving both Cathedral and community activities. The solar array will supply power to the music/song rooms, administrative offices and chorister residential accommodation - reducing their grid consumption by around 30%. “The solar array will not only provide Cathedral House with affordable clean energy but also help us towards our EcoChurch carbon reduction goal of 6% every year,” said Canon Chancellor Peter Leonard.

    The solar array is one of a number of projects the Cathedral has been carrying out since 2015 in order to reduce its energy carbon footprint.

    “There is clearly great potential for solar PV for church community/administrative buildings and schools, not only providing clean affordable onsite power but also assisting the educational curriculum for future generations of young people,” said Canon Peter. “We do hope that central government will find a way to continue stimulating this important contribution to the UK’s carbon reduction goals and climate change agenda.”

    At a recent gathering of diocesan leaders, Dr Ruth Valerio, Global Advocacy and Influencing Director for Tearfund, had emphasised how crucial it is for the church to take practical action on climate change issues. “The world is climbing out of poverty, but in an unsustainable way. Extreme poverty is falling but carbon emissions are increasing. One estimate is that if it carries on like this, climate change might push 100 million people back into poverty.”

    As a member of the EcoChurch initiative, Portsmouth Cathedral was one of five cathedrals nationwide to be presented with a Bronze award in 2016 by the new Eco Church scheme, in recognition of contribution and support of the Church of England ‘Shrinking the Footprint’ campaign.