British Gas’ Green Streets programme has found that the UK’s churches and religious buildings could raise a combined total of £34 million a year by installing solar power through the country’s feed-in tariff (FiT) scheme.

This money-making potential will be a welcome revelation to churches and other religious buildings that have been hit hard by the recession over the last few years, as a recent report shows that a quarter of all 44 Church of England dioceses are running deficits.

However, although the research shows that Britain’s churches have the potential to save all of this money, they would still need to find the upfront cost of the system, and many of them won’t be able to gain permission for the installation since the buildings are listed.

Father Paul Richards, of St Silas Church in Pentonville, London said, “The Church of England is committed to saving energy and becoming greener throughout the UK and the potential for solar panels on our churches is an exciting prospect. Even though not all UK churches could adopt this model due to planning and architectural conservation laws, there may be thousands of Church of England buildings out there that could help create a greener future by generating clean energy as well as some much needed income.”