First Church Goes Solar


The Ministry of Stewardship, Finance and Administration (SF&A) and the Green Team are excited to announce that a 22.9kw AC array of 95 solar panels will be installed on the church roof above the Large and Small Assemblies.

After a long period of research and discussion, Cooperative Community Energy (CCE) of San Rafael was chosen for the job. According to CCE, the system should help to reduce FCCB?s electrical bill by over $10,000 in the first year alone and this savings will continue to go up as rates from PG&E increase. Over 30 years, the system should help to save FCCB more than $500,000 in electrical costs, cut the church?s electricity use by 31% and offset over 12 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions (CO2)!

The solar project also dovetails with the need for repairs on the same? part of the roof. Numerous leaks and frequent patching has necessitated a more signficant reroofing project. Berkeley Roof Service will take on this job which will precede the solar installation. Work will begin July 25 with the hope that the roof and solar installation will be completed by September.

SF&A will work closely with the contractors to minimize the impact on people coming in and out of the church during this time.

Photos and stories of progress will be shared with the congregation as the project is carried out.

The solar installation is only one of several projects that have been taken on to reduce the church?s carbon footprint. Earlier this year, First Church worked with a local non-profit to install more energy efficient lighting in several areas of the church. The church is already reaping both the economic and environmental benfits from these changes.

In November 2015, the Church Council endorsed the Paris Pledge on behalf of the congregation. The Pledge establishes an aspirational goal that First Church will seek to reduce its carbon pollution 50% by 2030 and to become carbon neutral by 2050. Members of the Green Ministry Team and others in the church hope ?to meet those goals well before the deadlines. The solar project will be a solid step toward meeting the pledge.