Heritage roofing specialist, Sheffield-based Martin-Brooks, is pioneering a new breed of solar panel installations that will enable the renewable technology to be applied to lead roofs.
In what is believed to be the first installation of its kind in the UK, Martin-Brooks has added solar panel lead supports to a church near Chesterfield to manage the thermal movement.
The supports are built with expansion gaps to allow natural movement of the lead roof without causing damage to the photovoltaic panels. Designed by the Lead Sheet Association, the pods were fitted by Martin-Brooks on behalf of Derby solar panel installers, C-Changes, with the approval and guidance of English Heritage.
Architects, Smith and Roper, who have worked previously with the roofers on sensitive heritage projects, recommended Martin-Brooks for its historic lead work experience. The pod installation was carried out sympathetically on the grade I listed church to ensure no damage to the existing lead roof or the building’s structure.
Dale Wright, Martin-Brooks’ contracts director, said: “To date, only a few churches have been granted permission to install solar panels due to concerns over structural suitability and aesthetic impact. Being involved in the first application of this groundbreaking pod support system has been extremely interesting and our work in Chesterfield will undoubtedly open up the solar market to a wider range of properties, particularly those with lead roofs.”
Approval was given for solar panels on the south aisle of the grade I listed Church of England property as a high parapet wall ensures they cannot be seen from ground level. The installation will enable the parish church to benefit from reduced energy bills and access to the higher rate feed-in tariffs.