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You are here: Home » GreenFaith in the Media » Press Clips » Tabernacle Church Dedicates Solar Panels

Tabernacle Church Dedicates Solar Panels

By Linda Jagiela
The Central Record
Tabernacle Church Dedicates Solar Panels

Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Tabernacle dedicated its new solar panels on June 16th

 

TABERNACLE— Lord of Life Lutheran Church has joined the ranks of St. Peter's in Medford and Holy Eucharist in Tabernacle by adding solar panels to its roof.

The 60,000-watt solar electric generation facility went live earlier this month. The church dedicated the panels at a ceremony on June 16.

Pastors David Jones and Susan Jones (no relation) conducted the blessing of the panels between services on Sunday, June 15.

The Rev. Fletcher Harper, an Episcopalian priest from Hackensack, and the executive director of GreenFaith, an interfaith group that promotes environmental stewardship, led the congregation in worship at both services.

Harper said it is the goal of churches to help people around the globe emerge out of poverty.

“Climate related devastation causes displacement of people, which is a cause of poverty,” he said. “Moving away from using fossil fuel is one way church communities can assist in ending that poverty.”

The solar panels, which are black with black trim, are on the back of the church and encompass about one-third of the total roof.

They are expected to generate 98 percent of the annual electricity used by the church and its preschool, Grace Place. The church replaced a 20-year old portion of its roof in anticipation of the panels’ installation.

The church intends to spread the cost of the project over 146 months, said David Jones.

“The savings over 20 years should be at least $100,000,” he said. “This project has allowed us to be great stewards to the environment."

In addition to the cost of installation, the church must also save to replace the inverters at the end of 12 years. The six inverters on the building will cost $4,000 each to replace.

Since 2005, Lord of Life Lutheran Church members have been contemplating solar energy. A fact sheet given to church members said the financial benefits from the solar energy arrangement should pay for the installation and reduce future energy costs dramatically. The church plans to redeploy the monies saved to ministries of the church.

Members of the Lord of Life church council weighed the decision carefully before presenting it to the congregation.

They looked at concerns such as fire and were assured that there are no issues with solar energy and fire as long as the system is installed properly by a licensed contractor. They investigated the roof and questioned the contractor on leaks and collapse. The contractor allayed all the fears and concerns.

“This helps us answer the call to be good caretakers of what God has provided to us,” said David Jones.

In conjunction with the dedication and blessing ceremony, Lord of Life held an information session for its members and the public to learn if their homes were suitable for solar energy. AP Solar of New Jersey, the contractor for the church’s solar panels and a GreenFaith partner, conducted the evaluations.

Linda Jagiela can be reached via email at novedlinda@comcast.net.

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