Posted: Sat 18th Feb 2023

Historic Chester Cathedral goes green with roof-mounted solar panels

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Saturday, Feb 18th, 2023

Chester Cathedral has become the first cathedral in the north of England to install solar panels on its ancient monastic building, as part of the Church of England’s commitment to becoming Net Zero by 2030.

Roof-mounted solar panels have been installed on several of the South Transept and Nave roofs of the Grade I listed Cathedral, with 206 solar panels generating 22-25% of the total energy consumption of the building.

Chester Cathedral has joined the cathedrals of Gloucester and Salisbury in installing solar panels to reduce the amount of carbon generated on site, but Chester’s panels use a unique non-interventive design, which means they sit on the historic roofs rather than being fixed to them.

This installation comes at a time of soaring energy costs and increasing calls for improved awareness of the environmental impact of tourist and heritage sites.

Dean of Chester, the Very Revd Dr Tim Stratford, expressed his hope that the installation would help reduce the cathedral’s carbon footprint and lessen its negative impact on the planet.

The move will also reduce the cost required to provide the fuel.

The Very Revd Dr Tim Stratford further stated that the cathedral was determined to be responsible and set a good example for others, adding that “sustainability includes ensuring that we are doing everything we can to reduce our carbon footprint”.

 

The installation of solar panels is therefore a long-term and prominent commitment by Chester Cathedral to contribute to the aims of the Church of England, Cheshire West and Chester, and the heritage sector more broadly to reduce carbon emissions and become more sustainable.

Carbon Control Limited delivered the entire scheme, working closely with Donald Insall Associates, Chester Cathedral’s historic buildings consultants.

Carbon Control engaged Sunfixings, a specialist UK-based manufacturer of solar panel mounting systems to design and manufacture the bespoke mounting system, so as not to compromise the lead and copper roof covers.

The installation presented several challenges for the Carbon Control team, including working to strict listed building requirements and carefully considering the panels’ placement to maximize the amount of electricity able to be produced.

As the UK battles to combat the current energy cost crisis, Andrew Fletcher, Managing Director of Carbon Control, expressed pride in the company’s role in assisting the cathedral to generate 25% of its annual electrical demand on site.

He also expressed confidence that other historic buildings will follow the Cathedral’s example in seeking to reduce carbon emissions.

Chester Cathedral has expressed gratitude to the Kenneth Russell-Hardy Will Trust for the generous contribution that facilitated the solar panel installation.

The solar panels received a joint blessing from the Very Revd Dr Tim Stratford and the Bishop of Chester, Mark Tanner, on 27 January.

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