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Light from above gives Norwegian churches environmentally friendly energy and profits

Strand church.Photo: Kristoffer Nåden Havn, Nåden Media / NTB scanpix

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With beautiful solar panels that at a distance look like slate plates, Strand church in Rogaland has been blessed with more electricity than it needs.

We supply two-thirds of the power produced to Lyse, so our neighbors receive extra blessed power, says church guard Trond Hjorteland to Stavanger Aftenblad.

Norway’s first church with a solar-powered roof is an 1874-built, well-designed and preserved building with high average power consumption – not unlike many of Norway’s 1,620 churches, of which 1,000 have protection status.

We were first in the country, but there are many more to come. Solar power is an important part of the energy mix of the future. The old church is conveniently located, on high hills and with south-facing roofs, since the altar always faces east. Here, DNK (The Norwegian Church, ed.) can make concrete measures that are conducive to the climate and provide good finances, Hjorteland believes.

The pilot project Strand church replaced the slate plates on the south-facing roof with shiny solar cells that look quite similar from a distance. In theory, they should supply the church with 22,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each year, last year it was 25,000 kilowatt hours. With features like an insulated attic, new windows, heat pump and LED bulbs, there is more power than Strand needs.

The Employer Organisation for Ecclesiastical Activities (KA) has evaluated the pilot project at Tau and concluded that not everyone can get solar cells, and that objective criteria are needed that take into account both the building’s identity and its visual impact in the environment.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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