A bright solar idea

July 21, 2011
Rabbi Jonathan Romain points out the eco-friendly addition

Rabbi Jonathan Romain points out the eco-friendly addition

Maidenhead Synagogue has installed solar panels on its roof - the first shul in the country to do so, it claims.

"The main motive was fulfilling Jewish teachings about preserving the environment and a desire to play a part in the fight for sustainability," minister Rabbi Jonathan Romain said. "The panels also serve as a powerful message to congregants about Jewish eco-values.

"If it leads to all 800 of our households installing their own solar panels, it will have a massive knock-on effect."

A combination of grants, donations and fuel bill savings are recouping the £20,000 cost. The synagogue not only generates its own electricity but sells its excess to the national grid, earning £1,500 annually. Former Maidenhead chair Danny Allen and energy specialist Ellen Salazar led the project.

The shul's self-sufficiency extends to a vegetable garden, growing tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, lettuce, carrots and onions.

Fuel bill savings will help to recoup the £20k cost

Produce is used both at the Shabbat kiddush and for the weekly lunches for the homeless the synagogues organises.

There is also a wormery for decomposting wastage.

Last updated: 3:11pm, July 21 2011