Grade I-listed heritage site York Minster to gain solar PV. Image: York Minster.

One of the globe’s most iconic cathedrals, York Minster, is set to install solar PV panels onto its roof following approvals by City of York Council (CoYC) and the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England.

The cathedral, which is a grade I-listed building and a registered English Heritage Site, will install a total of 199 panels which will then be placed upon the roof of South Quire Aisle – a part of the cathedral which originally dates from 1361. This will generate around 75,000kW/h of power annually.

As well as contributing to meeting daytime power demand, surplus power generated by the panels will be stored in underground batteries and used to power the cathedral’s evening services and events.

York Minster confirmed there will also be a panel installed within the Minster itself displaying its energy production and carbon savings as it seeks to promote the importance of decarbonisation to the thousands of local, national and international visitors that appreciate York Minster.

This solar development will contribute to the Church of England’s decarbonisation target, aiming to be net zero 2030.

“The Church of England has pledged to be net zero by 2030 and we are proud to be playing a significant role in not only helping to achieve this vision, but also inspiring other cathedrals to follow suit,” said the Dean of York, the Very Reverend Dominic Barrington.

“We are incredibly pleased that City of York Council has recognised the importance of this intervention not just for the Minster, but for the wider city.

“We have consulted extensively with key stakeholders including Historic England and the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England to ensure that the panels are sensitive to the Precinct’s historic architecture and wish to express our gratitude for their continued support up to this point.”

A number of English cathedrals have turned to solar PV to reduce its carbon footprint over the years. In 2016, Gloucester Cathedral became the oldest cathedral at the time to install a commercial size solar system on its roof. This consisted of a 150-panel system installed by MyPower.

In 2012, Bradford Cathedral became the first to install a solar PV system, with a generation capacity 9.9kWp, via an installation from Cumbria-based solar specialists Sundog Energy.