Gloucester Cathedral has submitted plans to install a 45kWp rooftop solar array on its nave as part of a £6 million regeneration project.

Plans were submitted to Gloucester City Council last month and are currently under consideration with the Cathedral keen for work to start later this year.

The installation would form part of Project Pilgrim, a £6 million regeneration project funded in part using Heritage Lottery Fund donations to restore and repair parts of the cathedral which need work.

The plans include the installation of around 180 panels fitted to the southern slope of the cathedral’s high nave which cannot be seen from the ground, generating up to 27,000kWh of energy per year – equivalent to approximately 20% of the cathedral’s total energy demand.

The cathedral also moved to allay fears over the installation of solar panels on a centuries-old building. While the cathedral was originally constructed in the 1300s and extensively restored between 1873 and 1897, the nave roof was rebuilt in the 1950s.

However the planning document notes expectation that the install would “not be without potential controversy” and that it does “not intend to set a precedent” for solar PV to be installed across the UK, despite the Church of England backing plans for the country’s churches to reduce their carbon footprint.

A consultation of 400 local residents carried out by staff working on Project Pilgrim found that 87% of them supported installing solar PV on the roof, while 66 residents said they would be prepared to sponsor a solar panel at a cost of £500.

In June the Grade I listed St Nicholas’ Chapel in King’s Lynn completed the installation of a 92-panel solar system as part of its own £2.7 million regeneration programme.