Dated 1st March 2011
Church’s Solar Collection
Mending the church roof can be a vicar’s nightmare, but the Balsall Heath Church Centre in Birmingham, is looking forward to becoming the first in Birmingham to earn money from theirs, from solar panels BEING INSTALLED THIS WEEK
The solar panels are the first of their kind in Britain. Called Flexlight; they are flexible, lightweight and are stuck directly to the roof. The thin film amorphous technology will work even at low light levels. US based Advanced Green Technologies (AGT) has supplied them at much reduced cost, so as to have a demonstration for Birmingham.
They are fixed onto a roof membrane (Firestone Rubbergard EPDM) which has been generously donated by Alumasc Exterior Building Products. Installation is by Close Building Services, working with Jericho Construction, which has trained unemployed local people to install this kind of roof. Thomas Vale Construction supplied low cost insulation, to keep heat within the building, which is home to a day care centre for local elders and other community facilities. A grant from the Church Urban Fund allowed the project to move ahead.
The Balsall Heath Church Centre is an ecumenical partnership between St Paul’s Anglican Church and Balsall Heath United Reformed Church. The new roof is visible from Edward Road.
“We are delighted with all the help given to allow this project to go forward”, says Rev. Catherine Grylls, “Balsall Heath Church Centre hopes to be a beacon of environmental sustainability. We will earn useful income for supplying clean electricity which will help to fund our work with local elders. And we are delighted that this project will also benefit local unemployed young people through our partnership with the Jericho Foundation. For us as Christians it is vital that we try to live well with creation, locally and globally, and so environmental sustainability and addressing inequality are key issues for us ”