How £100,000 scheme will see non-reflective solar panels on Gloucester Cathedral’s nave
Can You See The Join? Gloucester Cathedral’s solar panels will be non-reflective and, from ground level, indistinguishable from the rest of the roof. Image by Arena Photo UK (via Shutterstock).
Gloucester Cathedral could soon be the world’s oldest building to have solar panels. Costing £100,000, the Cathedral church of St Peter and the Holy and Indivisible Trinity are on the brink of reaching that amount through fundraising initiatives. The solar panels are part of a long-term plan known as Project Pilgrim.
Up to 200 solar panels will be placed on the nave but the task goes beyond installing the panels. To accommodate them, the shape of the ridge will be altered a little. Leadwork and guttering will also be repaired. With winds a major hazard in any installation, the frame needs to be up to the job of supporting the panels. Then there’s the cabling.
Their installation will see the cathedral saving up to 25% on energy bills per annum and will generate between 28 to 30 MWh of electricity. The PV (photovoltaic) system will be non-reflective, effectively blending in with the nave roof. For listed buildings, this is an important factor. Furthermore, the panels will be invisible to the eye, when seen from ground level.
The £100,000 investment in the cathedral’s energy security is only a small part of the £6 million Project Pilgrim scheme. This is a 10-year programme funded by the HLF (Heritage Lottery Fund), individual fundraisers and Trusts.
Gloucester Cathedral’s solar vision is also shared by other ecclesiastical establishments in the UK. According to The Guardian (01 September 2016), More than 3,500 places of worship have made a switch to renewable energy sources. This includes most Salvation Army citadels, a third of Quaker Meeting Houses, and 2,000 Catholic churches. With recent news of job losses in the solar energy sector, the findings are encouraging.