Reduces electricity bills and helps the climate
As a way of doing their bit for the climate and reducing their electricity bill, the Tjörn parish council decided to install rooftop solar panels. So far, the parish has installed 506 panels on six buildings with the help of Energy Commitment, and wants to expand even more in the future.
– It’s a win-win situation. “We are doing a good deed for the climate while saving money on electricity,” says Johan Ernstson, vicar of the Tjörn parish.
The entire Church of Sweden works actively on climate issues to contribute to a better world. Environmental management can take different forms in different parts of the organization, from replacing plastic cups with paper cups to choosing more environmentally friendly vehicles. In Tjörn parish, vicar Johan Ernstson saw an opportunity to use the roofs of the parish homes to install solar panels.
– I have long hoped that we in the pastorate could one day have solar panels on the roofs, but did not think it was possible in terms of price, until a couple of years ago we went on a study visit to two newer churches in Vargön and Trollhättan. Those churches are almost entirely powered by solar energy from panels on the roof and that’s when we realized that it might not be impossible after all,” says Johan Ernstson.
Energy Commitment had the experience
During a conference on climate issues in Linköping, the pastorate also visited the crematorium there, which is powered by solar panels, and the adjacent solar park. That’s when they first got in touch with EnergiEngagemang and started the process of installing solar panels in earnest. Tjörn’s pastorate chose EnergiEngagemang over other suppliers partly because of their previous experience of building for the Church of Sweden. EnergiEngagemang was also not tied to a particular subcontractor but could be flexible and find a solution that best suited them and their customers.
– It has been a very good cooperation and EnergiEngagemang has helped us all the way from the idea to the finished plant. All our contacts with them have been positive and we will turn to them again when we are ready to expand more panels,” says Johan Ernstson.
Investing for the future
It is still very difficult to get permission from the Swedish National Heritage Board to build solar panels on church roofs, so while waiting for the rules to be relaxed, Tjörn’s pastorate has chosen to invest in its parish homes and farm buildings instead. Today, the parish has a total of 506 panels on six different buildings and is building 48 more panels on a seventh property. In total, the panels generate around 125,000 kilowatt hours per year and have already significantly reduced the parish’s electricity bill. They have been able to sell the energy they have not used themselves back to the grid, earning thousands more.
– I strongly recommend other parishes to take similar decisions. It is an investment for the future and pays for itself. The solar panels are quick to install, pose no risk to the capital and make a good contribution to the climate,” concludes Johan Ernstson.