Coventry Cathedral is set to become the first in Britain to put solar panels on its roof.
Staff at the cathedral are applying for planning permission to place more than £100,000 worth of solar technology on top of the Grade-I listed building.
They believe it could make Coventry the first cathedral in the country – and possibly the world – to go solar.
Executive director Jane Woodward said: “We are looking at putting a 50 kilowatt solar array on the roof and we hope it will significantly reduce our electricity bills.
“It’s a Grade-I listed building and we havent jumped all the hurdles yet but we are fortunate in Coventry because many cathedrals have quite steep pitched roofs behind shady parapets whereas ours is fairly flat so were hoping it will be possible.
“It would make us the first cathedral in the country to do it, and possibly the first in the world.”
Solar energy company EOS, an arm of Southam-based renewable energy business Alumet, is planning 178 panels for the roof, covering 200 square metres.
The plan is to include a digital display inside the building showing visitors how much energy the panels are generating from the sun.
The team at the cathedral will apply for planning permission from Coventry City Council, but must also get the go-ahead from the Cathedral Fabric Commission of England.
Mrs Woodward said: “The Church of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury are interested in the project for the reasons of environmental stewardship and climate justice.
“It’s not just about saving money on our energy bills we are committed to the idea of renewable energy and climate protection.
“Climate change is affecting people who are in poverty the most.
“Issues about social justice are very important to what we stand for so this is not just an iconic thing for us.”
The diocese has launched a solar roof club, encouraging congregations across the city to consider installing solar panels on their homes, churches and church halls.
Mrs Woodward said the idea is that Christians could make a patchwork of solar technology on rooftops across the city.
She added: “This is a flagship and iconic building and has a project this is potentially very powerful.”
The Cathedral wants the work completed by the time of the Queens 2012 visit, and the panels could be installed by the end of the year.
While Coventry could be the first cathedral with rooftop panels Saskatoon Cathedral in Saskatchewan, Canada, has installed solar technology in its stained glass windows.