A Solar Fairy Tale From Massachusetts
Last January, we received what we consider the most touching email of 2015. It had one sentence “the system is up and running”. This referred to a solar power system on the roof of a church in Massachusetts that just went live and it was particularly inspiring for three reasons:
1- The solar panels serve the church of a great community in Melrose, MA, and it is going to save them as much as $130,000 over the life of the project. We smile at the thought of what can be done with that: How many thousands of meals for the homeless? How many sets of music instruments for the kids? How many monthly getting-together events? Most importantly, how many smiles will be drawn?
2- The system — which costs around $100,000 — was 100% funded by the community. No bank loan, no fancy institutional wall street guys, no external donation, none of that. It was all from the community and their friends who were given the choice of donating or investing in the system and receiving good financial from regular solar energy payments.
3- Last, and probably most fascinating, while we initially planned for all the money to come from individuals investing, more than 25% of the funds came in the form of donations, which was a wonderful example of solidarity. Even the endowment for the church chimed in.
Today, thanks to the love and investment from its community members, the Melrose Unitarian Universalist Church generates most of its own electricity from the most sustainable source of all: the sun.
These solar arrays on the MUUC roof generate 90% of the building electricity.
What does it take for a project like this to happen? Like all great community initiatives, it takes a committed champion. For Melrose, the champion who made it all happen is David Bliss, who conceived the idea and made it happen. David is a local architect with no professional solar experience but tons of passion and love for the community, and the planet.
We believe everyone can be a Champion. Have you ever wanted your school, or club, or religious haven to add solar to their roof or parking lot? When are THEY going to get around to it? You can make it happen. We can help. Believe us, you have no idea how much impact this will make until you see it.
The Village Power Team
PS: Please share and recommend this story, it may help another community get together around a noble goal.