Public may tour solar-powered church

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:56

    wantage - Church of the Good Shepherd, the first house of worship in Sussex County with a solar electric system, will be available for free visits by the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 1. Visitors will be able to tour the church grounds and view its solar electric system. The system installation was made possible through a partnership between GreenFaith, New Jersey's interfaith environmental coalition, and Sun Farm Network. Through this collaborative venture, called Lighting the Way, GreenFaith works with houses of worship throughout New Jersey to educate religious groups about the moral and spiritual basis for protecting the environment and to promote the installation of solar electric systems. The church is part of a region-wide Green Building House being organized by the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA). The regional event is part of the American Solar Energy Society's National Solar Tour. The solar electricity system has photovoltaic panels mounted on metal rails attached to the framing of the church. The system has a capacity of 11.040 kW-DC. A portion of the congregation's electric power needs are met by their solar generation system, and a portion is met by the utility. With its solar array in place, the church remains connected to the utility grid, and will continue to buy electricity from the utility as needed n although in reduced amounts. "Religious institutions can lead society towards higher moral ground," said Rev. Fletcher Harper, GreenFaith executive director. "By taking steps to reduce their impact on the environment, Church of the Good Shepherd is demonstrating their commitment to lead New Jersey in the effort to promote the health of all New Jerseyans and the environment." Lighting the Way is funded by the Board of Public Utilities, the Geraldine Dodge Foundation, and Sun Farm Network. For information, visit the NESEA web site,, or call 609-394-1090.