First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church in Framingham is converting to solar power.
SunBug Solar Company installed 84 high efficiency solar panels on the roof of the church's Parish House at 24 Vernon St. the last week fo February. The panels will provide 75 percent of the electric power required for the church's Parish House and Meeting House.
The panels, manufactured by the SunPower Corporation, are mainly constructed in the United States. They are 20% efficient in the conversion of the sun's energy into electricity and are the most efficient panels on the market today, with an estimated 30 year useful life.
The solar panels installation is part of a faith commitment to reduce the energy consumption of the church with an ultimate goal of making the First Parish campus carbon neutral. Over 30 years, the solar panels will prevent 375 metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.
Respect for the interdependent web of existence of which we are all a part, is the seventh principle of Unitarian Universalism, the denomination of First Parish in Framingham.
First Parish took steps to become an official Green Sanctuary, such as making environmental awareness part of the liturgy and religious exploration programs, implementing recycling, and installing compact fluorescent and programmable thermostats.
Renewable resources such as wind and solar are part of the long term solution of reducing reliance on nonrenewable fuels. Solar power is a fast growing industry in Massachusetts.
First Parish in Framingham had long considered solar panels to power electricity needs for its two major buildings, but found the cost prohibitive.
The persistence of Larry Decker, a longtime member of First Parish, and other key individuals lead to finding a program developed by Massachusetts Interfaith Power and Light and SunBug Solar that makes use of federal grant money. This program enables First Parish to install solar panels, with no large initial costs.
First Parish in Framingham is the first of four religious institutions in Framingham installing solar panels, the others being United Church of Christ (UCC) Conference Center, and the Lutheran Church of Framingham.