Hillmorton church set to be fitted with solar panels, with most of the power put into local grid, thanks to council grant

Three quarters of the power will be exported back into the local grid

St George's.
St George's.

Hillmorton's St George’s Church will soon be generation power for itself and the community with the installation of solar panels thanks to a county council grant.

The £1m Warwickshire County Council’s Green Shoots Fund was set up to support a wide array of small, community-powered initiatives across Warwickshire in addressing the climate change emergency.

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And St George’s Church is one of the latest beneficiaries, having been successful in their Green Shoots bid for £23,000 in funding to deliver solar panels on its roof which will generate up to 25kW or energy.

The panels are expected to provide power to heat the church hall during the winter months, but such will be their output that 75 per cent of the energy will be exported into the local grid.

The story began when St George’s Church communicated their desire to reach net zero by 2030 in the parish newsletter LINK, which is delivered to 1,500 households.

In response to the newsletter, a resident informed the church of Warwickshire’s Green Shoots Fund, at which point the project began to take shape.

The roof of St George’s Church was identified to be an ideal installation place for solar panels, with over 400 square meters of flat surface allowing the installation of 70 panels.

St George’s Church is backing the Church of England’s pledge to be carbon neutral by 2030 and this project is seen as part of that target. The church has been developing awareness of environmental issues within the community as well as encouraging residents to engage fully in protecting the environment.

Work on the church is expected to be completed in February 2022.

Phil Hemsley, member of the Parochial Church Council at St George’s Church, Rugby, said: “Climate change is such a critical issue that we all need to do all that we can.

"At St George’s we can see how to actually become carbon negative using heat pumps for heating, LED lighting and by generating electricity from solar panels, and reducing heat loss by improved glazing.

"As with similar community focused projects, this all needs funding and this important solar PV project would not have proceeded without the Green Shoots grant. We are looking forward to turning some of next year’s sunshine into electricity and hoping that future Green Shoots grants might help us turn some of our other projects into a reality.”

Cllr Heather Timms, portfolio holder for Environment, Climate and Culture, said: “The installation at St George’s Church epitomises why we’re so committed to a community powered Warwickshire, with a community building playing a prominent role.

“The project takes full advantage of the church’s roof structure with an innovative design that will deliver clean energy for use by the church and the wider community. The church has identified the importance of addressing the climate emergency whilst still serving the needs of the community.

“St George’s is a fantastic example of what Green Shoots Funding can achieve and I look forward to following the progress of this project over the coming months.”

Further information about St George’s Church, Rugby, can be found here: www.stgeorgesrugby.org.ukFor more information about the Fund, visit: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/greenshootsfund