Salisbury Cathedral installs solar panels in carbon-neutral drive

A bishop has climbed on to the roof of his cathedral cloisters where dozens of solar panels have been installed as part of plans to become carbon-neutral.

The Rt Rev Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury, went on to the 35ft (10m) high roof of the south cloister to see the 93 panels.

They will provide 33,708 kilowatt hours of clean energy to Salisbury Cathedral and reduce its carbon footprint by 11,764kg per year.

The installation of the panels, which will produce a total of 37kw of energy, is another step towards the cathedral’s aim of being carbon-neutral by 2030.

Other environmental initiatives include draught-proofing the medieval cathedral, using green tariff energy, and installing LED lighting.

“The Church of England is working hard towards a net-zero carbon footprint by 2030,” the bishop said.

“As the Church of England’s lead bishop for the environment, I am delighted that Salisbury Cathedral is making a contribution that takes us towards this.

“With clear purpose and helpful partnerships, even iconic buildings can make a difference towards sustainability.

“In these strange times the possibilities of living differently seem all the more important and this project even more significant.”

The bishop has recently signed a letter to the Government asking for the environment to be part of its post-Covid-19 plans.

The panels cannot be seen from the ground and only visitors climbing the 332 steps up Britain’s tallest spire will get a glimpse of them.

The project has been under development since 2017 when Salisbury Community Energy approached the cathedral about a possible installation.

The panels are collectively owned by small, local and ethical investors who want to encourage more renewable energy generation.

Thomas Burnett, a director of the not-for-profit Salisbury Community Energy, said: “We are delighted to have been able to work with our partners to make this installation happen.

“It was always a very important site for Salisbury Community Energy as it sends a strong message.

“We hope it will galvanise others to follow suit.”

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