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Last Updated: Monday, 2 July 2007, 14:10 GMT 15:10 UK
Solar church hopes to sell power
Fr David Way outside St Joseph's Church (Pic courtesy of Wales on Sunday / Western Mail)
The solar panels supply the church with its electricity needs
A church powered by solar panels hopes to sell some of the electricity it creates to the National Grid.

St Joseph's Church in Cwmaman, Cynon Valley, was kitted out with 30 solar panels as part of 750,000 restoration work at the almost derelict building.

Father David Way admits he initially doubted that enough electricity for the church would be provided.

But the 33,000 panels on the Victorian church are producing more power than it needs, and the extra can be sold on.

Cwmaman isn't the sunniest place and I was concerned we were going to spend all this money and get no return
Father David Way

Fr Way said that during the planning stages parishioners had wanted to make sure the church was as environmentally friendly as possible while maintaining the heritage of the building.

"The church was almost derelict and in a very bad condition," he explained.

After months of planning and applying for various grants for the repair work, the church was restored, complete with the solar panels.

"Cwmaman isn't the sunniest place and I was concerned we were going to spend all this money and get no return," said Fr Way.

Solar panels on St Joseph's church roof (Pic courtesy of Wales on Sunday / Western Mail)
The church plans to sell its excess power

"But they do work and they supply an amazing amount of electricity.

"We are planning to supply the National Grid which will also generate an income for the church.

"The panels are quite well hidden on the roof because of the situation of the church and I think most people who visit the church will never see them," he added,

The church is open every day for various community groups, and as well as the solar panels, it is lit using low-energy lightbulbs.

There are also plans to utilise rain water for the toilets and to install the most energy efficient heating.

  • The refurbished church is to be officially blessed by Archbishop of Wales Barry Morgan on Monday at 1930 BST.



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