Gloucester Cathedral is becoming a pioneer in renewable energy as it becomes the oldest cathedral in the UK, maybe even the world, to install a commercial sized solar PV system on its roof.
Following a highly-competitive tendering process, the Cathedral has awarded Gloucestershire-based Mypower this ground-breaking contract.
The historic grade 1 listed building is famous for hosting the Coronation of King Henry III and for being the final resting place of King Edward II, as well as providing a location for three of the Harry Potter films.
Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Cathedral is now undertaking a £6million development project of which the installation of solar PV is a crucial element.
The 42kW solar array will reduce the Cathedral’s energy costs by 25%, helping it deliver the Church of England’s ambitious ‘Shrinking the Footprint’ campaign which aims to reduce its carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.
The panels will be installed on the Nave roof which sits 30 metres above the ground, making them virtually invisible from the surrounding area. The nature of the building does, however, present a number of challenges including shading issues.
We put a lot of time, effort and passion into this tender to provide the right design to achieve a beneficial output at the right price, whilst being totally sympathetic to this historic building.
Mypower’s managing partner Ben Harrison said: “We put a lot of time, effort and passion into this tender to provide the right design to achieve a beneficial output at the right price, whilst being totally sympathetic to this historic building.
“Using a non-penetrating fixing system, designed and manufactured locally by Sunfixings at Bourton on the Water, the panels will sit on top of the lead roof above the great Nave which was built almost 1,000 years ago.
“We felt that it was right to provide a number of different solutions in the tender. Given the shading issues on the roof, we presented animated graphics showing shading changes throughout the day and at different times of the year to demonstrate the anticipated yields for different types of panels and inverters. This allowed the Cathedral to find the right balance of capital cost and electricity yield whilst ensuring the panel design closely matches the roof, with aesthetics overriding costs.”
Anne Cranston, Gloucester Cathedral’s Project Manager said: “The Cathedral is committed to becoming a greener organisation. We’re delighted to have appointed Mypower to make sure that we can safely install this cutting edge technology on our beautiful and ancient building.”
Mypower will begin installing in early October with commissioning of the solar panels 4 weeks later.