Archbishop and Labour Leader Back Church Solar System

Monday, 13 August 2012

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont has praised Church leaders for embracing renewable energy after visiting a new solar power installation.

The MSP for Glasgow Pollok and also Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow visited St Robert Bellarmine's Parish in the Househillwood area of the city to inaugurate the system after it became the third church in the Archdiocese of Glasgow to install Solar PV in a bid to drive down rising energy costs.

120 solar panels have been fitted to the roof of the 57-year-old building by renewable energy company Absolute Solar and Wind - with the system understood to be the largest of its kind on a church in Scotland.

It will generate 20,500kwh of green electricity per year and the parish is expected to benefit by around £3,800 annually when electricity bill savings and payments from the UK Government's Feed-in Tariff scheme are taken into account.

That means St Robert's can expect to gain by £95,000 over the next 25 years - while also saving approximately 216 tons in CO2 emissions over the same period.

Johann Lamont, Scottish Labour Leader and MSP for Glasgow Pollok, said: "It would like to congratulate St Robert Bellarmine's on this forward-thinking and innovative measure to reduce the area's carbon footprint and bring down energy costs in the church.

"This is now the third church in the Archdiocese of Glasgow to use solar power technology to bring down costs and sets a great example for other organisations and businesses in the community."

Archbishop Mario Conti said: "I am delighted to see this scheme get up and running. It is a case of new technology being harnessed both to help the environment and also to support the local community who will benefit from a warmer, drier church building, and some new income which will be used for an array of parish projects."

Father Neil McGarrity, Parish priest at St Robert Bellarmine added: "The parishioners have been very supportive of the plans, which they see as being to the short term and long term benefit of the whole community. The process has been well managed and inconvenience has been minimal. I would recommend it to others who may be considering it."

Mark Newall, Managing Director of Absolute, said: "This is the latest in a series of very innovative and forward-thinking projects we have carried out for the Glasgow Archdiocese. Renewable energy is an ideal solution for the church, allowing it to save energy on its traditionally high heating bills and make an ethical contribution to the environment at the same time.

"Solar panel systems like the one on the church offer a better rate of return for both personal and business energy users than most other investment in the current climate, and we're seeing uptake increase all the time as customers realise the wide range of benefits."

Previous solar system installations in churches carried out by the Archdiocese include St Joseph's in Cumbernauld and Christ the King in Glasgow, meanwhile a wind turbine has been installed at the Archdiocese's cemetery, St Peter's, Dalbeth.


Notes to editors:

Issued by Beattie Communications on behalf of Absolute Solar and Wind

  1. Absolute Solar and Wind was established in Scotland in 2007 and is the country's number one company for solar and renewable energy solutions.
  2. Absolute is a member of the Renewable Energy Association (REA) and is one of the best installers of Solar Photovoltaic, Solar thermal and Micro Wind Energy Turbines in the UK.
  3. Absolute offers a complete service: design, sales and installation - throughout the UK 
  4. As an approved installer under the Government MCS accredited scheme, Absolute Solar and Wind is dedicated to photovoltaic renewable energy and is now at the forefront of the UK's rising green energy technology sector.
  5. In April 2010 the UK Government pledged to have 7 million homes using solar power by 2020.