Church looks to light from above

With the help of a grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and some light from above, Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Scotia will now be more energy efficient with the addition of solar panels to the rooftop.

We've been talking about this for a long time, said Pastor Dennis Meyer of the installation of the photovoltaic system at the church. "We want to be as ecologically responsible as possible."

The church is one of the first in the area to use solar panels to decrease energy consumption.

The money for the solar panels came from a memorial fund for Ruth and Harold Walther.

Meyer said putting the solar panels on the south roof was ideal because of the amount of sun that side gets. Meyer also said that the introduction of the solar panels is a part of the chuch's "care of creation" plan, which promotes using greener items to preserve the earth's resources for future generations. While the southern part of the rooftop now houses the solar panels, the other side of the roof is made of recycled tires that are dyed and tinted to look like slate.

The solar panel system has a life of 25 years and is expected to pay for itself in the first eight years, saving the church close to $2,400 per year. With a grant from NYSERDA, which is open to all not-for-profits across the state, the church only paid $19,266 of the total $93,366 project cost with $74,100 in NYSERDA rebates. The system is also expected to offset 315 tons of carbon pollutions over the course of 25 years " which is equivalent to planting 38 acres of mature trees, according to information from groSolar, the company that installed the system for the church.

According to groSolar, 25 percent to 45 percent of homes can install a solar panel system to help with the energy bill, and with the incentive from NYSERDA, not-for-profits can gain from generating their own energy and taking control of their energy bill while helping the environment.

"I encourage other not-for-profits to look into it," said groSolar Direct Sales Represenative Eliot Goodwin. "Climate change is an issue. We always encourage not for profits to look into it but also business and homeowners."


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