Launching a more hallowed opposition to the recently-announced feed-in tariff deadline the Church of England has spoken out against Government’s plans. Hoping to purge itself of its carbon sins, the Church is calling on DECC to give places of worship, and other community groups, more time to complete planned installations. It is also asking for a special community tariff.

An online petition launched yesterday from the Archbishops’ Council Cathedral and Church Building Division has already attracted more than 700 signatures from individuals and groups.

In total 35 CofE churches have installed solar panels while approximately 300 are actively considering a solar project. The petition claims that solar projects on churches are far more complex, and the December deadline therefore penalises those who have committed to installing.

The Church is asking that places of worship are exempted from the need for EPCs, provided a suitable other benchmarking audit system can be put in place. The Church has 12,500 listed buildings across the UK, many of which would have difficulty fulfilling these criteria despite using energy efficiently.

It will also ask that churches are allowed until March 31 to complete and install projects which are currently in the pipeline. Finally, the Church will call for its buildings, alongside other community projects, for a specific community tariff from April 1.

Solar panels are currently promoted across the CofE’s 44 dioceses as a way of using natural resources to reduce the carbon footprint of a church. The Church, through its national environment campaign ‘Shrinking the Footprint’, is committed to the Government's carbon reduction targets of 80 percent by 2050.

Martyn Goss, Social Responsibility Officer for Exeter Diocese said, “This news is very disappointing. Here in the Southwest we have been encouraging churches to install panels and many will be adversely affected by this cut in tariff resulting in having the rug pulled from underneath them by such short-term political decision making.”
David Shreeve the Church of England’s National Environment Officer said, “The returns on a solar project will not be as financially attractive as they were and take longer to pay back. Whilst in the life of a church building this is not a long time it will take us into the next generation. As well as enabling churches to use renewable energy, we see solar panels on church roofs as setting a brilliant example to their local communities.”

To sign the petition click here.