by Tom Walker
FPL Green is very pleased to announce that the Parish Committee, at its March 20 meeting, approved our proposal to install solar panels on the Parish House and we have just signed a contract with BlueSel Solar to install the system. This project is the centerpiece of our Green Church initiative and we’ve been working on it for about a year now.
The panels will cover almost the entire south-facing roof on the rear wing of the Parish House and will supply enough electricity to serve the full needs of that building while also providing some additional power to offset the electricity use at the Sanctuary.
The project will reduce the church’s carbon footprint as we become much less reliant on fossil fuels for our electricity needs. In addition, the project has significant financial benefits for FPL. Savings on electricity costs plus additional renewable energy incentive payments received from the state are currently estimated to average as much as $8,000 per year over the 25- to 30-year life of the project, which translates into direct reductions in the annual operating budget.
While we’re on the way, though, we’re not quite there yet. Now we enter the final design phase and must complete the permitting process with the Town. But given the recent passage of the updated solar bylaw at Town Meeting, solar progress at school, and recent solar-friendly decisions by the Historic District Commission, we’re optimistic that the project is on track, with the installation of the panels hopefully happening sometime later this spring. And we still have some fundraising to do to pay for the initial cost of the panels–but all in time.
At this point, let’s celebrate progress, with special thanks to Jim Fleming and Ed Kern, who have led this effort for FPL Green over the past year and gotten us to where we are today. Kudos!