Church's solar power gets Bishop's blessing

Herald Series: The Rt Rev John Pritchard, front, climbed to the top of St Peter and St Paul’s Church in Deddington to give the panels his blessing on Thursday Buy this photo The Rt Rev John Pritchard, front, climbed to the top of St Peter and St Paul’s Church in Deddington to give the panels his blessing on Thursday

THE Bishop of Oxford proved his head for heights when he climbed on to the roof of a north Oxfordshire church to bless some new solar panels.

The Rt Rev John Pritchard climbed to the top of St Peter and St Paul’s Church in Deddington to give the panels his blessing on Thursday.

The 42 photovoltaic panels were installed by SMC Solar, a company based in Stanford in the Vale, near Wantage.

Bishop John said: “I was really impressed to see the solar panels here on the church.

“There’s never been a more urgent time to take green approaches to the generation of energy, and every scheme like this helps a little.

“This is another example of great innovation and imagination from Deddington church and I congratulate the parish on their vision.”

SMC Solar spokesman Martin Trinder, left, said the church invested more than £20,000 in the panels.

He added: “We have installed these panels on churches in Kent and Reading and hope other churches in Oxfordshire do the same.”

Dan Inman, curate of the church, said the 42 photovoltaic panels were installed in March.

He added: “The panels were installed using money raised by the local community, as part of our desire to reduce our carbon footprint and as a long-term means of raising funds for the church as a local community centre. By selling energy to the National Grid we will be able to generate about £3,500 a year towards the maintenance and upkeep of the church. Blessing solar panels is probably one of the more unusual requests received by the Bishop but he is very keen to reduce the carbon footprint of churches in the Oxford Diocese.”

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