City Mosque looks to the sun

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Solar cash could help Britain’s churches and other religious buildings

A BIRMINGHAM mosque is one of the first in the country to benefit from the installation of solar panels.

The Masjid-e-Hamza Mosque in Moseley has already submitted plans to the local council and anticipates getting the go-ahead for the installation of solar panels on the mosque in the next few months. 

The move follows research by British Gas which, unveiled last month, shows that Britain’s mosques and other religious buildings could raise £34 million a year by installing solar panels.

According to new figures from the British Gas Green Streets Programme the incorporation of solar panels on Britain’s religious buildings could generate over £29 million a year through Feed-In-Tariffs –a Government incentive scheme encouraging people to install renewable energy systems such as solar panels and pays households and organisations for generating so called “green” electricity. 

Furthermore, another £5 million could be saved by not having to purchase electricity from suppliers.

As well as improving their finances, Britain’s religious buildings could also do their bit to help protect the environment, as the CO2 savings could also be significant – up to 42,000 tonnes of carbon emissions could be saved each year, which is equivalent to the carbon emitted by over 600 transatlantic flights.

British Gas is already installing solar panels on religious buildings to help them raise funds through the scheme and cut their carbon footprint.

Phil Bentley, Managing Director of British Gas, said: “These potential savings are great news for the UK’s religious buildings and their congregations, and give them the opportunity to lead their communities in tackling climate change and helping Britain move towards a low carbon society. As Britain’s energy company, we at British Gas are committed to helping households, business and community and faith groups make the most of this opportunity to cut their carbon footprint and earn money for the electricity they generate.”

It is hoped that the money-making potential will be a welcome revelation to mosques, churches and other religious buildings that have been hit hard by the recession over the last few years.

Mosques in the UK could save an estimated £1,047,200 in energy bills alone and make over £6,300,353 a year via Feed-In-Tariff’s.  This would represent a total value of £7,557,298 to the UK’s mosques per year.

The installation of solar panels similar to one to be installed at the Masjid-e-Hamza Mosque in Birmingham could cost around £75,000 yet the Mosque expects to be £6,400 a year better off as a result of the installation each year.

Hindu temples in the UK could save an estimated £326,726 in energy bills alone whilst Sikh temples in the UK could save an estimated £204,204 in energy bills.

The Masjid-e-Hamza Mosque in Birmingham is part of the Sustainable Mosley (SusMo) project which recently joined the British Gas Green Streets programme.  The nationwide competition features 14 communities across the country competing to save and generate the most energy and win £100,000 for their local area.

Esther Boyd, SusMo project manager, said; “I hope the SusMo project provides inspiration to other religious groups across the UK, and helps them realise the untapped energy potential they’re sitting-on and the benefits that could be brought to their communities by harnessing renewable energy.”

By Zeenat Moosa

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