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Saturday, December 3, 2016
London: Anglican parish becomes miniature power station
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¬†A parish church has responded to the challenge of exploring "new ways of being Church" - by becoming a miniature power station. In what is believed to be the first scheme of its kind involving a church building, electricity produced by panels on the roof of the parish hall at St Mary's in Spring Grove, Osterley, will be sold to the National Grid. The west London parish, which last year demolished a failing, 1970s pre-fabricated building to make way for the new, £800,000 hall, was selected to be part of a renewable energy scheme being run by the Department of Trade and Industry, and was awarded a grant for the installation of a photovoltaic cell roof. As well as producing up to 30kW of power, the south-facing roof also deadens sound from outside the church. Using daylight, and causing no pollution, the roof panels will generate enough power to light and heat St Mary's two halls, with an expected surplus being sold on to the National Grid via the regional network. Yesterday the Rev Marion Warman, 82, an honorary curate at St Mary's said: "The panels will cut our electricity bills considerably, but we don't yet know how much money we may receive for electricity we sell to the National Grid. "There's no sign of the money yet, as we have had the panels for only a month or so. The sums will probably be quite small." Miss Warman said the greatest benefit to the church would be the savings on fuel bills. "Apparently the panels continue to work even when it is cloudy," she explained. She said of the pilot scheme: "The DTI gave us 90 per cent of the total £169,000 cost of installing the solar panels. They will visit us from time to time and monitor the performance. We are all very pleased with the arrangement." Miss Warman joked that although St Mary's was in the flightpath for Heathrow Airport, "we have no plans to provide the power for landing lights". The St Mary's Osterley centre was officially opened last month by Lord Brentford, whose grandfather, Sir William Joynson-Hicks MP, opened the original church hall there in 1912. He was joined by Lady Brentford, the Third Church Estates Commissioner. The new hall will be used by, among others, playgroups, a Tuesday club for the elderly, the Brownies, the Guides and the Mothers' Union. Last month's service of dedication, led by the Bishop of Kensington, the Rt Rev Michael Colclough, went very smoothly, unlike that at St Mary's in 1952 when, as Miss Warman recounted: "Just as the choir was singing "dark and cheerless is the morn" the newly-installed lighting system failed". A spokesman for the DTI described the St Mary's as "an excellent example of how solar power can give a new lease of life to a community building". Source CoE Comms
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