Festivals/Seasons & Holy Days

There will be an opportunity to Gift Aid your donation, and/or to direct your gift to the brothers, or sisters or a particular house, after you have completed the final page on PayPal (PayPal account not required).

Hilfield Solar Project

Br Hugh writes:

The poster at the Friary entrance announces Hilfield Friary’s solar project,  part-funded by Low Carbon Dorset as part of the European Regional Development Fund .

In 2012 the Friary had 44 solar pv panels, (10kwp) installed on the Chapel Roof, giving about 10,000 kwhs of electricity a year, plus valuable payments from the Feed in Tariff. However, it is only a part of what we need. The arrival of electric car charging and LED lighting has increased and decreased our needs respectively.

 We had always planned to generate more, and to reduce our carbon footprint further. Equipment costs have fallen but the FIT has also gone. Now Low Carbon Dorset, run by our local authority, Dorset Council, has helped us find part funding to cover the roofs of Francis and Leo Houses and the chip store for our biomass boiler. 

We are most grateful to The Low Carbon Dorset team for their excellent advice and encouragement in finding the most appropriate technology, in the size with the shortest payback time. It helped us apply for the 40% funding from the EU’s  European Regional Development Fund.

A local firm will begin installation next week. 29 pwp of panels on more 3 roofs will generate another 30,000 kwhs pa, quadrupling the power we generate. It will give an estimated C02 saving of 21.8 tonnes pa.

LCD has also helped other Dorset churches, at least one of which is, like us, an Ecochurch award winner. See www.lowcarbondorset.org.uk/  and https://ecochurch.arocha.org.uk/  for further information.

 Solar power helps the friary economically, as we will now have to buy less electricity, albeit 100% renewable electricity from Ecotricity. As the cost of batteries fall further, in a year or two, we also hope to store daytime power to use at night. In the meantime, surplus power will go to the grid, but the Local Electricity Bill, now going through parliament, could let us sell spare power to neighbours.

The Church of England has just brought forward its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030, and this solar project shows what we can do now. See www.churchofengland.org/news-and-media/news-and-statements/general-synod-sets-2030-net-zero-carbon-target

This project is part of our care for creation, our Common Home as Pope Francis calls it in Laudato Si. St Francis spoke of Brother Sun and Mother Earth but had no idea how harnessing the lifegiving power of Br Sun could slow the poisoning of Mother Earth with CO2, giving us hope in our climate emergency.  Guests and visiting groups will learn about the project, just as they learn about our biomass heating

Work on the Solar Panels above Leo House (27.11.20)