Gurdwara Sahib Woolwich, Rooftop Solar PV Installation

Project: Rooftop Solar PV

Market: Renewable Energy

Location: Woolwich Conservation Area

The Challenge

To find a budget-conscious, eco-friendly solution to lower energy costs for a Grade II listed building in a conservation area.

Located in central Woolwich in the Royal Borough of Greenwich, South East London, the Gurdwara Sahib Woolwich  operates as a place of worship and a Sikh community centre with a langar, offering 5,000 free meals a week.

The facilities’ fixed energy tariff was to expire in 2023, and with significant increases in energy costs looming, the challenge was to obtain planning permission and then put solar panels on the exposed roof of the main premises and a second building within the gurdwara’s curtilage. The two buildings are located in the Woolwich Conservation Area.

The Solution

Low Carbon Alliance worked closely with the organisation and other partners to obtain planning and install the renewable efficiency solutions that are a key element in the Sikh communities’ plan to lower carbon emissions, decrease its dependence on fossil fuels and reduce operating costs.

After undertaking surveys of the site to identify areas of investment and potential changes in practices that could reduce energy demand, Low Carbon Alliance recommended the installation of two rooftops solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, which could serve the energy needs of the community building and the Gurdwara Sahib Woolwich.

Pre-planning and listed building advice suggested that the installation of PV systems would be difficult. Low Carbon Alliance worked closely with all stakeholders, and with support from the Greater London Authority (GLA) and local council representatives, the application was approved in July 2022 for two roof systems, totaling 32kW.

It represents the first-time planning permission in Woolwich that has been granted for a rooftop solar PV System on a sloped roof within a conservation area and within the curtilage of a listed building.

This example of small-scale, big-picture infrastructure shines a light on what is possible with dedication and persistence to seek the renewable energy pathway.

Gurmukh Mann/Narinder Jassal, Gurdwara Woolwich said: “With the Sikh ethos of looking after our environment in mind, Gurdwara Sahib Woolwich set out to ‘go green’ on energy and called upon the expertise of Low Carbon Alliance to investigate and plan green energy options. The Low Carbon Alliance team, led by Kieran Crowe and Basil Paulose, have delivered a great result with planning approval and designs in place ready for the installation of the solar PV systems”.

 “Our thanks to the LCA team for their expertise and dedication, the GLA for their support as part of the London vision to be carbon neutral by 2030 and the Royal Borough of Greenwich, who worked with us to gain planning approval”.

Basil Paulose – Assistant Project Manager, Low Carbon Alliance said: “This installation is a huge success for community-led renewable projects. It was a pleasure working with the dedicated members of Woolwich Gurdwara who had an inspirational vision that others can follow”.