A total of 60 vicarages and rectories throughout the Diocese of Bath and Wells are set to receive solar panels as part of the Church’s ambition to drastically shrink its carbon footprint.

The Church’s ambitious solar panel initiative will save more than 104 tonnes of carbon dioxide from being emitted every year. As well as saving the environment, the £420,000 scheme will also provide the Church with a valuable income from the feed-in tariff scheme as well as significant savings on its current utility bills.

Diocesan Surveyor Paul Toseland explained: “We borrowed funds for the panels at a very preferential rate and over 25 years expect a return of between 11 and 20 percent. More important than that, it is part of our determination to be as green as we can.  We are not only playing our part in helping the environment we are also setting an example.”

The scheme is part of Ecochurch South West, a partnership between the dioceses of Bath and Wells, Exeter and Gloucester with green energy supplier Ecotricity.

One of the Vicarages being fitted with the panels is in Minehead. Priest in Charge, Revd Penelope Dobbin said: “It’s a marvellous idea which will play a significant part in cutting the carbon and helping the environment.

“It’s a win all round – we know the energy is green, vicars’ fuel bills are reduced and the Diocese will make some money too.”

The vicarages and rectories being fitted with PV panels are scattered over most areas of the Diocese, including, as well as Minehead, Alcombe, Westfiled, Yatton, plus Tauton and Bath and their surrounding areas. Several churches are also considering fitting PV panels.