Solar Panel System Installation Has Begun at First Parish of Sudbury, UU, in the historic center of Sudbury, MA

Published on December 6, 2015 under Electricity
Solar Panel System Installation Has Begun at First Parish of Sudbury, UU, in the historic center of Sudbury, MA

On Monday, November 30, 2015, SunBug Solar started installing a solar photovoltaic (PV) system at First Parish of Sudbury, UU. The exterior portion of the installation is expected to be completed in around two weeks, and the complete system done in early 2016.

The exterior work consists of wiring and of mounting 55 all black solar panels (collectors) on the Religious Education Wing roof. None of the system is on the historic Meetinghouse and none will be visible from the parking lot, off the main thoroughfare of Concord Road.

The 55 panels are manufactured by LG, type LG 300 Neon2 300. Each of the panels have 300 watts output, weigh 37 pounds, are (L x W x H) 65” by 40” by 1.5”, have a static snow load of 113 pounds per square foot (psf), a static wind load of 50 psf, their cell type is Monocrystalline and are 18.3% efficient. The typical solar panel efficiency is around 15%. The panels have a linear warranty for 25 years but are expected to be operational for 30 years. High efficiency is good as we have limited available space for the panels.

The 16.5 Kilowatt system will generate about 45% of our electrical usage per year, saving around $1,000 per year starting when connected. SunBug Solar has offered First Parish of Suduby a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) at no cost to us. A PPA is a legal contract in which a property-owner agrees to purchase electricity from a power provider. In this agreement the power provider installs solar panels on the site owner’s property and sells the homeowner the energy that the panels produce at a predetermined rate. The rate is fixed over the length of the agreement and is typically less than the homeowner is currently paying their local utility. Net metering will be used.

FPC UU roof

The system’s three phase inverter, by SolarEdge, not yet in production, is expected to be available for installation in January or February 2016, when the full system installation will be completed and switched to connect to our electric supplier, Eversource (formerly NSTAR). A solar inverter, or PV inverter, or Solar converter, converts the low voltage variable direct current (DC) output of a photovoltaic (PV) solar panels into a utility frequency alternating current (AC) that can be fed into a commercial electrical grid, such as Eversource.

This solar system has been years in the making. I started looking into it around 2010, viewing over 10 firms. While I have recently worked with a total of 3 firms, only Sunbug has re-worked their contract to our liking during this last year. Since 2012, all told I have worked with 5 solar firms, three have not provided a proposal since our available space is too small, two have provided proposals and SunBug’s last offer is the best.

I wish to thank the half-dozen members of First Parish of Sudbury for their valuable assistance and taking on the load when I was not available.

“We are the first generation to see the effects of climate change, and the last generation that can do anything about it.” Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Fifth Assessment 2014.  The First Parish of Sudbury, UU, now have an opportunity to significantly reduce our carbon footprint and set an example for our community.

— Bruce Langmuir, December 2, 2015

Photo credit, First Parish of Sudbury, Unitarian Universalist Website; Steven Gabeler