The Melrose Highlands Congregational Church has turned on a 62.1-kilowatt rooftop solar installation. The solar panels were part of an 18-month project initially conceived in the spring of 2018 and will be used to launch a new community solar program in Massachusetts.
The congregational church will receive clean, renewable energy from the 205 panels on its rooftops. It’s expected to offset annual carbon emissions in the equivalent of 60-acres of forestry. While benefiting from the solar panels, the church will also launch solar programs to provide renewable energy options to nonprofit partners and houses of worship. It’s among the first of its kind to have a community solar program in Massachusetts.
The church was originally approached by the Melrose Energy Commission about the idea of launching a campaign in Melrose to provide solar options to small businesses and charitable organizations. “Go Solar Melrose: Big Roof Solar” was spawned from this collaboration and is the second phase of Melrose’s award-winning Solarize Campaign that began in 2012.
To land on specific solar options, Melrose Highlands Congregational Church worked with the energy commission and Resonant Energy. Ultimately, it was decided that the solar panels would be built upon the church’s two roofs. With the commission and Resonant Energy, the congregational church also determined the best options to deliver affordable solar energy to other houses of worship.
Melrose Highlands Congregational Church will save money by generating its own power, but will also be able to earn revenue through the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target Program. Since it is generating more energy than it needs for its electricity, the church will be able to sell clean energy at a discounted price to its partner, Bread of LIfe. It’s estimated that the church will save $390,000 over 25 years.
The congregational church was followed by Green Street Baptist Church and First Baptist Church Melrose, who have both installed solar panels with the help of Resonant Energy in autumn 2018. In total, Melrose has five churches utilizing solar panels for renewable energy.