CAPTION: St Michael's Brent Tor is now completely lit by solar power. Photos by Colin Sargent and David Harris

Diocese’s first completely solar lit church

Posted: 13th February, 2018

Bishop Nick, the Bishop of Plymouth, has dedicated the new solar lighting system at St Michael’s Church on Brent Tor.

Bishop Nick at the door of the church

It is the first fully off-grid PV lighting system in our diocese and means that the church dating back to 1130, will no longer be lit by gas lamps and that heavy Calor gas tanks will no longer need to be carried up the steep Tor to the church.

The move follows the decommissioning of the church’s gas system, which failed in 2016. Worshippers at the weekly Evensong service and at other special services were not impressed by the small electric

Bishop Nick leads the special dedication service

hand lamps that had been in use since then.

Over £13,000 was raised through fundraising and from generous donations by the congregation, visitors and the Friends of St Michael’s.

The bank of solar panels on the roof charge a sophisticated battery mounted in the tower, to run a series of discreet spotlights in nave and chancel. In addition, there is a motion-sensitive light in the “narthex” (between pews, doors and tower gate) for visitors, and a bulkhead light in the tower for the bell ringers.

Churchwarden David Harris is delighted with the ‘bespoke system’ and said: “We are absolutely delighted with the lighting, and hope that, along with last year’s roof repairs, they will be of benefit to worshippers, pilgrims and visitors for many years to come.”