Anonymous donor pays for installation of solar panels on Waynesboro church

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Waynesboro
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Waynesboro(WHSV)
Published: May. 6, 2021 at 8:23 PM EDT
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WAYNESBORO, Va. (WHSV) - Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Waynesboro (UUFW) has been working to raise money to install solar panels on its building since 2018. They were able to reach that goal this year after an anonymous donor gifted them the money to make it happen.

“We always thought it would be a great idea, but it’s significant capital investment,” Wayne Nolde, board member of UUFW, said.

After weighing their options, UUFW went with Altenergy in Staunton for the installation.

“We want to do something visible that we want to make a statement about what our values are and that it’s a value that supports our community,” Rev. Paul Oakley said.

Rev. Oakley added that over the years, UUFW has been doing its part to be sustainable as possible.

“We have been recycling all the recyclables that come through our fellowship, we have changed all of our light bulbs out to LED to use less electricity, we have a newer, efficient system for heat and air conditioning,” Rev. Oakley said.

So, not only has adding the solar panels helped the church to engage in more sustainable practices, but it’s allowed them to carry on their mission statement.

“One of the items was ‘Stewardship of the Earth,’ giving back, keeping the planet in a condition that will continue to support our children and grandchildren, the children and grandchildren of our community into the future,” Rev. Oakley said.

Because of its size, it’s not as common for churches to install solar panels, but it’s something that is growing in popularity.

“It is a growing movement around the country to put solar on churches because many churches find it in agreement with their beliefs to take care of the earth,” Nolde said.

The church is expecting to save around $1,500 a year, and they plan to add more panels in the future to be able to power their other building as well.

The solar panels will also feed power back into the grid as it takes in sun on days where power isn’t being used.

“In the dead of winter, or in the night when the heating system is on and the panel is not producing any power, then we retrieve power from the grid, but we only pay for the difference. It’s called net metering,” Nolde explained.

The panels were installed last week, and the church expects to produce its own power by the end of the month.

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