Synagogue solar panels will take some beating
WIMBLEDON SYNAGOGUE’S Tu Bishvat celebrations were even greener this year as they incorporated a dedication ceremony for its new solar panels.
More than 150 people, including around 100 children, attended the Tu Bishvat Seder and dedication ceremony after the Reform shul’s Sunday morning cheder.
New rabbi Jason Rosner and synagogue co-chair Jason Burns cut a ribbon in front of an information panel detailing the carbon emissions offset by the panels.
“As the screen mentions how many trees worth of carbon we’ve offset, it seemed appropriate for Tu Bishvat,” Rabbi Rosner explained.
The 100 square metres of panels were installed on the roof during repair work last September. They provide sufficient electricity to power all the lights in the building and some of the heating.
“In replacing the roof of the building, we wanted to do something ecologically sound,” Rabbi Rosner added. “It was a good example for the synagogue to set to encourage eco-friendly behaviour.”
The £750,000 refurbishment project for south London’s largest congregation also encompasses improvements to the main hall and a new ark, bimah and library.
Project manager Colin Mendelow- itz said significant funds had already been raised by members and the plan was for the work to be completed by Rosh Hashanah.
“We realised we have a wonderful, huge roof surface and could end up with a greener building which could provide electricity for the synagogue.”
Although the panels cost £50,000 to install, the shul believes there could be long-term cost savings. Surplus electricity could even be sold back to the National Grid.
Rabbi Rosner said he had deliberated hard over the choice of blessing for the ceremony as the Reform Siddur did not include an appropriate one.
He eventually opted for the prayer for something new.
Raising the roof: Rabbi Jason Rosner