A CHURCH hopes to save hundreds of pounds in energy costs after receiving a £27,000 grant to install solar panels.

Volunteers at All Saints’ Church, in Eaglescliffe, have spent more than a year raising the £55,000 needed to fund the project.

The grant has been donated by the EDF Energy Green Fund.

The solar panels, which will be placed on the adjoining community centre roof, would be used to generate up to 9kw of electricity to save about £1,400 from the annual bill.

They are expected to be installed later this month.

The project is part of Community Action for Energy Eaglescliffe, an outreach group from All Saints’ Church which helps people in the community save energy and money and reduce their carbon emissions.

Churchwarden John Doherty said the church had a responsibility to help the environment.

“We’re so pleased that the EDF Energy Green Fund is to help make this exciting project a reality,” he said.

“The £27,000 will go a huge way to helping us create this low carbon solution.

We want to become more sustainable and this renewable project will help us as a church do just that.

“We also hope that it will encourage more people in our community to save energy, save money and reduce carbon emissions.”

Mr Doherty has found churches in Leicestershire, St Albans and Kent which are using solar panels to generate electricity.

Planning permission has already been obtained from Stockton Borough Council.

The project has also received funding from the Low Carbon Building Programme and the Congregational and General Insurance Charitable Trust.

Mark Thompson, EDF Energy Green Fund manager, said: “We’re delighted to announce that the All Saints’ Church renewable energy project has been successful in its grant application. EDF Energy is extremely happy to support what is a very innovative and exciting project.”

EDF Energy has awarded £4.6m to 260 renewable energy projects since the fund was launched in 2001, including £1.8m to 107 projects in schools, nurseries and colleges.