In early January 2016 the Durham Unitarian Universalist Fellowship became the first house of worship in New Hampshire powered by on-site solar panels. The installation of the Fellowship’s 13 kilowatt project was managed by Barrington Power, who also own and operate the solar array.
Marjorie Wolfson, President of the Fellowship, indicated that the solar project has further aligned the congregation with its faith-based principles. She said, “The Fellowship undertook this project because we are concerned about the potentially catastrophic effects of climate change on the Earth and all of us who live on it.”
The DUUF solar project is a potential model for other churches in the state. Congregations of many denominations are concerned about the moral implications of climate change, and are interested in reducing their carbon footprint. However, outright purchase of solar panels is often more than cash-strapped churches can afford, and as nonprofits they are ineligible for federal tax incentives. By contracting with for-profit solar providers–who are eligible for federal incentives–churches can reduce their carbon footprint without having to raise prohibitive amounts of capital.
Based on its contract with Barrington Power, the DUUF will pay a fixed amount per kilowatt hour and take advantage of “net metering.” During summer months the solar panels will produce excess electricity, earning credits that can be used during low-power winter months.
For more information, contact Michael Fleming, Green Sanctuary Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org .