Solar Panels

Solar Panels at Christ Church Rayleigh

As part of its vision, Christ Church believes in the sustainablity of the world that God has created. As a way of showing our concern for the environment, we have recently installed a Photovoltaic (PV) System to generate our electrical needs. The Church has a 9.88kwp PV system. It was installed on the ideal south facing roof of its 100 year old recently refurbished building. The overall cost of the project was approximately £33,000. It is estimated the Church will be approaching carbon neutrality for electrical generation, as excess electricity is sold to the national grid in times of peak generation.

Part of the Church's objective is to raise awareness of energy sustainability and show its concern for the effects of global warming. Christ Church will do this in two ways:

First, by example – by actually investing in PV technology and reducing its own carbon footprint. Few power-generation technologies have as little impact on the environment as photovoltaics. It is estimated that Christ Church will reduce its carbon footprint by 4.2 tonnes of CO2 per annum. The system quietly generates electricity from light without producing air pollution or hazardous waste.

Second, by actively pursuing efforts to educate the community. Part of the PV system includes a large public generation display showing the actual electricity generated and exported both currently and historically. This lends itself to be a tool to explain many of the issues regarding electricity generation. As the buildings are used as a community resource by many groups, the display monitor, posters and publicity brochures highlight both the need for sustainable energy and the outcome of the PV system.

The current and past PV generation can be viewed from here. (Updated every hour).
Solar panels turn the suns solar energy into electricity via photovoltaics. Photovoltaics allow electrons on the surface of a solar panel to be knocked loose by the incoming rays of the sun.  These loose electrons create a direct current (DC) of electricity. The DC electricity could be be stored in batteries, but at Christ Church they are converted into alternating current (AC) using an inverter and either sent to the national grid, or used in our buildings.

To understand the idea of the carbon footprint, please watch the video 'The Carbon Quilt' below. The Christ Church PV System though making only only a tiny difference by itself will be added to all other reduction projects to make a big difference to climate change.