Solar Update: 1.38MWh generated in March

Malus 'Comtesse de Paris' in bloom, spring 2024After a long, dull and wet winter, the sun has finally come out to play!  March’s sunshine helped the solar panels to generate 1.38MWh of electricity – that’s the best monthly total since September 2023.

The solar panels have generated a total of almost 12MWh since they were installed.  This equates to a saving in carbon emissions equal to planting 139 trees.  If you include the tree that was planted last November at the commissioning event, the total comes to a very neat 140.  Do pause to have a look at the crab apple whilst it’s in flower.

Roughly 35% of the generated power has been used by Portholme Church; the remaining 65% has been “exported” to the National Grid.  In financial terms, this represents a saving of £550 off the energy bills; the surplus that has been exported yielded £1,150 in extra income.  Not forgetting the environmental benefits of cutting carbon emissions by 2,300 kg.  So, imagine what you could save with a solar panel investment.

Portholme Church roof, showing heating system ventsThe next target for Portholme Church is to work towards “Net Zero Carbon”.  That’s a phrase you’ll often hear about in the news, mainly when they’re discussing EV cars and heat pumps.  The Portholme Church gas boiler creates nearly 10,000kg of carbon each year, so this is an area of particular focus (and we are hoping to get more professional help with working out exactly how “Net Zero” can be achieved).  Look out for further updates ….

In the meantime, why not visit the Our Zero Selby website and see how you can get involved in projects aimed at bringing the long-term benefits of a zero carbon Selby to everyone.

Roger Pipe (Church Treasurer)

GOOD (low carbon) NEWS at Portholme Church

The “Tea & PV Commissioning” event led by Revd Ruth Gilson-Webb on Friday 10 November 2023 was a “good news day” at Portholme Church.  Cllr Keith Franks, Mayor of Selby and Keir Mather MP, joined us to celebrate the commissioning of our solar panels and battery storage system as part of our commitment to working towards Net Zero Carbon.

The 20kWp solar PV array and 10kW battery has been generously funded by Energy for Tomorrow as part of a wider ‘Tea and PV‘ initiative across the Yorkshire North and East Methodist District.  Portholme Church was the first of seven churches in the District to be up and running with both the kit and the monitoring system.

The event was commemorated with the ceremonial planting of a crab apple tree, a Malus ‘Comtesse de Paris’, by Cllr Keith Franks, Mayor of Selby, and Keir Mather MP for Selby and Ainsty.  The tree was selected for its wildlife-friendly credentials, helping us to play our part in tackling the twin climate crises of biodiversity loss and carbon emissions.  It was also chosen because it won’t grow tall enough to put our solar panels in shade!

The tree was ‘planted’ in a pot at the front of the sanctuary for the ceremony but, the following day, it was unceremoniously replanted in its permanent site in a new flower bed at the end of the car park!

Malus 'Comtesse de Paris'

Tea & PV

Portholme Church will host a visit from Keir Mather MP on Friday 10 November at 4pm at our “Tea and PV” commissioning event.

Save Energy, Save the PlanetAt this point you are probably scatching your head and wondering what on earth is “Tea and PV”! We wouldn’t blame you.

Put simply, this is Portholme Church’s next step in the journey towards achieving “Net Zero Carbon” following on from the installation of our solar (PhotoVoltaic) panels. That’s the PV part of it.

But where does Tea come into this? Well, now the solar panels are installed, we can show data about the energy the panels are generating on screens inside the churches and start to spread the word about how much electricity can be generated and what an impact this can make to people and the environment. We thought cups of tea were a good way of explaining this: the amount of energy it takes to brew one cup of tea is one way of communicating the benefit of solar panels. Of course, sitting and chatting about solar energy over a cup of tea is another great way of spreading the word.

Come along and find out more at this lauch event. You will then be able to see how much difference the panels are making, one cup of tea at a time.

Energy for Tomorrow

Eco Church – Bronze Award

Caring for God’s creation is incredibly important to us all – and we are really pleased to announce that Portholme Church has received a bronze award from the Eco Church scheme.This recognises the efforts we have made so far in in raising awareness and adapting the way we operate to care for God’s creation.

Onwards now to the Silver award!!!

Things are looking up!

Solar Panels

We invite you to “look up” at our roof and to count the brand-new solar panels that were installed in June 2023.

They have been part of our planning for a very long time but, finally, they have arrived! The installation is the first step towards our target of reducing our carbon footprint to “Net Zero”. In other words, whilst we may still produce some carbon, it will be fully offset by solar-generated electricity which we sell back to the National Grid. Funding has been provided by Centrica’s “Energy for Tomorrow” charity as part of the Yokshire North & East Methodist District “Tea & PV” project.

For the technically minded, our new system consists 54 “Canadian solar panels with SolarEdge optimisers”, two “SolarEdge 10kW Storedge inverters” and one 10kWh lithium battery.

Looking Back

Portholme Church was built about 40 years ago – long before people became aware of “green” issues. Energy in the 1980s was relatively cheap and plentiful from coal-fired power stations. We now have a new roof which not only keeps us dry but also helps to keep the church warm with its much-improved insulation against heat loss.
We have had the ambition to achieve Net Zero for some years now which is why our new roof was designed the way it is. The solar panels bolt onto supporting rails which are clamped to the ridges. Neat!

Looking Forward

We can generate much more electricity than we currently use. Our target now is to switch from using gas to electricity for heating. We are currently assessing the electric heating systems that are available.
The prospect of Portholme Church achieving “Net Zero Carbon” status is now realistic but there is still a lot of work to be done.

Looking Up

Yes, the solar panels will reduce our energy costs BUT our main aim to achieve “Net Zero Carbon” existed long before the recent enormous price increases. We need to protect God’s creation and help protect vulnerable people around the globe from the effects of global warming. We are trying to set an example and to encourage others to follow.

The light of God has always empowered us spiritually; now the light of God also empowers us electrically!

Our new roof is complete!

After several years in the planning, Portholme Church has finally got its new roof. We have lots more insulation to keep the church cosy & warm but, most importantly, we don’t have any leaks! The photographs show some of the key moments …