A 1000-year-old UK cathedral is joining the solar power revolution. UK solar company Mypower just installed the first panel of around 150 on the roof of Gloucester Cathedral in England earlier this week. When the installation is complete, Mypower says the cathedral will be the oldest in the UK and maybe even the world to have a “commercial size solar panel system on the roof.”
The solar panels will adorn the roof of the cathedral’s South Nave, and due to the building design probably won’t be visible from the ground. They will provide the cathedral with 40 kilowatts of clean energy. In true British fashion, the cathedral said the solar panels would reduce power costs by about a quarter, “enough to make 2,000 cups of tea every day of the year!”
Installing solar on a cathedral is trickier than placing panels on modern buildings; Mypower Managing Partner Ben Harrison said they’ve had to work around twists and spots where the roof has sagged over time. He said they’ve worked closely with the cathedral’s structural engineers and architect to ensure the work is completed correctly.
Harrison said in a statement, “At times it’s been extremely tight in terms of maneuverability around parts of the site, particularly when the work required us to work just inches away from centuries-old gargoyles, but we put strategies and measures in place to protect the building from any damage.” Reverend Canon Celia Thomson was on hand to help install the first panel.
The Church of England is running a Shrinking the Footprint campaign, and the solar array will help Gloucester Cathedral work towards the campaign’s goal of slashing carbon emissions “by 80 percent by 2050.”
King Henry III had his coronation at Gloucester Cathedral, and King Edward II is buried there. The historic building also provided a location for three Harry Potter movies.