Derby Line Church opts for so­lar power

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS - Vic­to­ria Vanier Derby Line

The con­gre­ga­tion of Derby Line’s Uni­tar­ian Univer­sal­ist Church is cer­tainly a for­ward-think­ing one: they are se­ri­ously study­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of in­stalling so­lar pan­els on their roof. Last Sun­day, so­lar en­ergy ex­pert Dr. Ben Luce, a Physics pro­fes­sor at Lyn­don State Col­lege and the chair of the Col­lege’s Sus­tain­able Stud­ies Pro­gram, vis­ited the con­gre­ga­tion for a sec­ond time to an­swer ques­tions fol­low­ing the re­port made by the Church’s So­lar Com­mit­tee.

Dr. Luce, who has done ex­ten­sive re­search into so­lar en­ergy, be­lieves that so­lar en­ergy could meet the whole world’s en­ergy needs. Ac­cord­ing to the pro­fes­sor, the sun pro­duces 120 tril­lion watts of power while the world’s de­mand is 30 tril­lion watts. The costs of in­stalling so­lar en­ergy sys­tems have also de­creased by about 95% in the last decade. More in­for­ma­tion can be found by look­ing up “How to go so­lar in Ver­mont” by Dr. Ben Luce on the in­ter­net.

“Al­most ev­ery­one who came to Church for the ser­vice stayed for the meet­ing af­ter. The com­mit­tee re­ported two quotes for the project and then the con­gre­ga­tion made a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion to go for­ward. Now the church trus­tees will meet,” com­mented Ed Helm who is on the Church So­lar Sur­vey Com­mit­tee along with Judy Nom­mik. The sys­tem is expected to cost be­tween $3000 and $4000 dol­lars; the church’s elec­tric en­ergy bill, which doesn’t in­clude the heat­ing, is roughly $693 a year.

Fol­low­ing the meet­ing, many mem­bers went to a lun­cheon at the home of Stanstead East’s Ge­orge Weller to hear a pre­sen­ta­tion about ‘off-grid’ so­lar panel sys­tems by Dr. Luce. The sys­tem be­ing dis­cussed for the church is an ‘on-grid’ sys­tem that would sell ex­cess power back to the grid.

Al­though there are sig­nif­i­cant sub­si­dies in the state of Ver­mont for in­di­vid­u­als who in­vest in so­lar power, be­ing a non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion, the church will have to fundraise for the money. One in­ter­est­ing idea they might pur­sue is to have ‘Memo­rial’ so­lar pan­els, bought for a loved one. “We would be able to mon­i­tor each panel in­di­vid­u­ally, in real time, to see how much en­ergy it is pro­duc­ing. That may open op­por­tu­ni­ties for us to raise funds if peo­ple want to ‘adopt’ a panel,” said Mr. Helm.

“I think we would be the first faith community in the North Coun­try with so­lar pan­els. A big­ger con­gre­ga­tion would be able to do this much eas­ier but we could be an ex­am­ple that oth­ers would fol­low; good ex­am­ples are very im­por­tant,” con­cluded Mr. Helm.

The church’s al­ter­na­tive en­ergy com­mit­tee is also think­ing about in­stalling an elec­tric car charg­ing sta­tion “as a spe­cial wel­come for our Cana­dian neigh­bours.”

Photo cour­tesy

Dr. Ben Luce, seen here at a church meet­ing in Septem­ber, is ad­vis­ing the church’s con­gre­ga­tion about switch­ing to so­lar en­ergy.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.