Bungay church gets green boost

PUBLISHED: 15:46 12 November 2010 | UPDATED: 15:51 12 November 2010

Graham Gibbs with one of the solar panels that will be used on the roof of Emmanuel church hall, Bungay.

Graham Gibbs with one of the solar panels that will be used on the roof of Emmanuel church hall, Bungay.

Archant © 2009

AN ambitious scheme to make a Bungay church greener has almost reached its funding target in very short time thanks to a generous community.

Organisers behind an £80,000 project to fit solar panels to the roof of Emmanuel Church had drawn up a seven-year pay back plan, but are delighted after nearly reaching their goal in eight months.

Graham Gibbs, a church member who headed the project, said it was “amazing and humbling” that people had rallied to support the scheme.

As well as generating its own electricity the church will receive money for every unit from the government’s “feed-in tariff” scheme which provides payments over the next 25 years for electricity generated by solar energy.

It is expected this will give the church an income of about £3,300, which will be ring-fenced for other green initiatives at the church.

Mr Gibbs said: “We are not Christians sitting on our hands and doing nothing – God made our world perfectly and man is trashing it.”

The 220 photovoltaic panels were commissioned in April and by the end of last month the church had generated 6,443 units of electricity.

Mr Gibbs said nearly £40,000 was secured for the project from the Low Carbon Buildings Project leaving about half the funds left to find.

Church members and friends have since raised about £26,000, the town’s Methodist Church and United Reformed Church each gave £5,000 and more than £3,000 has been generated through fund-raising.

There is about £2,500 left to find, but Mr Gibbs said the church’s Christmas Fayre usually brings in around £1,000 and two smaller fundraising events are expected to raise further sums.

The project includes a large digital display unit in the entrance to the Orange Hall which shows what electricity is being generated at that moment, the total generated and how much carbon has been saved.

The church’s Christmas Fayre takes place on November 27 between 10am and 2pm.

Anyone who would like to visit the church and find out more about the photovoltaic panels can contact Mr Gibbs on 01379 852415.

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