SOLAR panels have been installed on the Cloisters of Salisbury Cathedral as it works towards becoming more carbon-neutral.

The 93 solar panels are located on the roof of the south Cloister roof and will provide 33,708 kWh of clean energy to the cathedral, reducing its carbon footprint by 11,764 kilograms per year.

Bishop of Salisbury, Right Reverend Nicholas Holtam, said: “The Church of England is working hard towards a Net Zero carbon footprint by 2030. As the Church of England’s lead bishop for the environment I am delighted that Salisbury cathedral is making a contribution that takes us towards this.

Salisbury Journal: Picture by Ash MillsPicture by Ash Mills

"With clear purpose and helpful partnerships even iconic buildings can make a difference towards sustainability. In these strange times the possibilities of living differently seem all the more important and this project even more significant.”

Salisbury Community Energy partnered with Schools Energy Cooperative in 2019 to deliver the project, and the money was raised in November 2019 through a local community share offer.

The project has been designed and installed by Joju Solar. 

Thomas Burnett, a director of the not-for-profit Salisbury Community Energy, said: "Salisbury Community Energy was set up in 2017 to decarbonise Salisbury. We've worked very hard over the last three years to do that. We've now got five solar PV sites across the city. The jewel in the crown is definitely Salisbury Cathedral."

Salisbury Journal: Picture by Ash MillsPicture by Ash Mills

Other sites in Salisbury include Wiltshire College, Bishop Wordsworth's School, and St Martin's Primary School.

Mr Burnett added: "Salisbury college, Bishop Wordsworth's and the cathedral line-up on an east west meridian. The sun rising first on Wiltshire College then Bishop Wordsworth's then hitting the cathedral, whcih has a majestic quality to it.

"What we are hoping to do is use these first 200kW sites as a launch pad to do more."

"Salisbury Community Energy is not-for-profit and we are hoping to build on this platform and work with Salisbury to continue decarbonise."

Salisbury Journal: Picture by Ash MillsPicture by Ash Mills

Caroline Lanyon, who is also part of Salisbury Community Energy, said she was "thrilled" about the solar panels and hopes it will encourage others to follow.

"This cathedral installation is going to make it much more likely that other major churches and heritage sights are going to be able to put panels up. It's become a sort of pioneer so its going to make all of that happening much more," she added.

Salisbury Journal: Picture by Ash MillsPicture by Ash Mills

"These solar panels are owned by a whole community of people. They are individual people who have loaned their money. It is an ethical investment all made by the community.

"It is because people want solar panels or renewable energy to happen where I afraid the government is lagging behind. People can make it happen when the government is rather failing to get behind it. It is a nationwide effort by lots and lots of community energy groups and it is about local people wanting to do local renewables on their roofs."

She said this latest installation will "give a lot of people a buzz" and a "sense of it can be done".

Salisbury Cathedral is only the second English cathedral to install solar panels.

Planning permission for the installation was granted in March of this year. 

The panels are located on the South Cloister roof and cannot be seen from the ground. Only visitors climbing the Spire will get a glimpse of them.

Salisbury Journal: Picture by Ash MillsPicture by Ash Mills

Canon Robert Titley, Canon Treasurer of Salisbury Cathedral, said: “We are delighted to be the second English cathedral to install solar panels as part of our continuing green initiatives, which have included draft proofing our medieval building, moving to green tariff energy and installing LED lighting. We are called to preach good news, and through this we are taking another small step toward being good news for God’s earth and not just part of the problem.”

Salisbury Journal: Picture by Ash MillsPicture by Ash Mills