Solar panels are not often talked about as an expression of religious conviction. But in 2012, as the debate over climate change started to heat up, First Unitarian Church of Cleveland (now Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Cleveland) decided to put up Solar Panels in their parking lot as an expression of our call to environmental stewardship, an expression of our belief in the 7th principal
Respect for the interdependent web of all
existence of which we are a part.
Ministry for Earth sought this system as part of the Green Sanctuary certification which was awarded in 2011. The system includes:
1. Solar array with 380 panels, each producing 240 watts of power
2. An Electric Car Charging Station
3. 38 covered parking spaces under the solar panels
4. Gutters and cisterns to collect water coming off the panels for use in our garden, diverting some water from the storm sewer (paid for by a grant from the NEO Sewer District)
The solar panels provide 80% of the congregation’s electrical needs. Excess electricity is put back in the grid, we are required to buy 20% of our electricity from the Illuminating company under current regulations. The 380 panels have a generating capacity of more than 91,000 watts – enough to supply the yearly power needs of about 10 homes, eliminating 77 tons of CO2 per year.
This project costing $500,000 for the solar panels and installation was covered by an arrangement where what we would have paid for electricity was applied to the cost of the panels. These panels are, almost 10 years old, will soon belong to the congregation. The panels have a lifetime of about 30 years.
In recent years Electric vehicles are becoming more available and more popular. We often see vehicles taking advantage of our EV Charging Station. We do accept donations for the electricity used to charge your car. donate
In the future we will continue to explore more ways that we can reduce our carbon footprint such as adding more panels, and green building remodel.
Remembering that: We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children….. and we share it with all living things.