The introduction of Feed-in Tariffs has produced a surge of interest in renewable electricity technologies such as PV. By virtue of their orientation many churches (and church buildings) have large, unshaded, south facing roofs which could be suitable for large PV arrays. Not surprisingly many are being offered ‘free’ PV systems by third party companies anxious to cash in on the financial returns from feed-in tariffs.
Deciding whether to opt for such deals or to fund and install your own system means weighing up the financial, technical and planning pros and cons.
With this in mind CWL was approached by three of the dioceses in the South West (Exeter, Gloucester, and Bath and Wells) to look at just these issues and produce recommendations and guidance including detailed options for modelling the energy performance and financial return of PV systems.
We developed a detailed financial model which can be applied to systems of any size, and shows the costs, benefits and financial (internal rate of) return, including the cost of borrowing.
For many churches there are also technical constraints about the size of system which can be connected to the distribution network (grid). And there is the question of how to amplify the modest carbon savings from PV in the church and church community.
To help churches with all these issues we have developed guidance notes which will be published shortly by the dioceses.