The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Hendersonville (UUFH) is celebrating the installation of a 40-panel solar array on its sanctuary roof. This installation is evidence of the congregation’s commitment to renewable energy and is the culmination of a two year program to become more environmentally friendly according to the Green Team coordinator Jan Partin.
After a year of planning, the UUFH Green Team took bids to install a system that would produce 80-90% of the 20000 KWhr electrical usage in its main building. The congregation anticipates an annual energy savings of $2400-$3000. M.B. Haynes Energy Solutions was selected in August and construction began in October.
The congregation has been working toward certification as a “green sanctuary,” an environmental and conservation program sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Association. The overall greening of the church encourages the congregation and individual members to adopt sustainable practices. The solar panel project, titled Let the Sunshine In, was an opportunity to fulfill the congregation’s desire to demonstrate green principles and to take advantage of North Carolina’s renewable state tax credit. The congregation raised $40,000 in two months to fund the project. Solar panel project team members were Jan Partin, Steve Tipps, Joe Criscione, RE Director Vicki Benavides, and Reverend Jim McKinley.
This effort aligns with the core values of Unitarian Universalists and brings our faith into action. By adopting solar energy for our building, we set an example for our congregation, our community, and other Henderson County area faith communities considering how they could also reduce their carbon footprint with sustainable energy sources such as solar.