What is it?
As part of the Church of England’s Shrinking the Footprint campaign to reduce carbon emissions, EcoChurch Southwest was founded in 2010 to encourage local churches to develop their own production of renewable energy for environmental, social and economic reasons. Initially involving the Dioceses of Bath and Wells, Exeter, and Gloucester and in partnership with Ecotricity, the project secured low interest rate funding for parishes which could be repaid to Boards of Finance.
Since then the following have been achieved:
- More than 250 solar PV installations on parsonage roofs
- 25 solar installations on church schools
- Over 20 solar PV schemes on church buildings
The project was subsequently extended to a further three Church of England Dioceses in the southwest region – Bristol, Salisbury, and Truro – and in 2017 to Winchester Diocese.
EcoChurch Southwest is now piloting some trials with biomass heating.
- Bishop’s house in Tewkesbury
- Somerset parish church
- Local church in South Devon
New solar installations are also being investigated in north and east Devon.
With both technologies, loans are available from your Diocese which can be repaid using Feed-In Tariffs, Renewable Heating Incentive payments or from other sources.
Plug-in solar PV – Systems of between 1 to 4 portable solar panels that can be installed in a garden or yard without the need for planning permission. The electricity produced offsets your use!
Hotbotts – Chemically heated cushions which retain heat for 90 minutes and can be used to warm your body in Church. Can be re-used hundreds of times.