First UMC Great Falls installs solar panels as part of sustainability project

First UMC Great Falls installs solar panels as part of sustainability project

First UMC Great Falls installs solar panels as part of sustainability project
5/12/2015

Story and photo submitted by the Rev. Nancy Slabaugh Hart
This winter, First United Methodist Church of Great Falls, Montana, experienced an unusual moment -- the energy meter began to run backwards! The first phase of a multiple-stage sustainability project came online in February. Last fall, 60 solar panels were installed on the south roof of the sanctuary. The 8.25 kilowatt system is tied into an inverter that connects with the Great Falls power grid. The church is "net metered," so that any surplus energy gets pumped back into the system. Since February, the church has averaged a cost savings of around $100 per month. But sustainable energy is about much more than saving costs.

Project manager, Ken Thornton, has been working on sustainability issues for over 30 years. He and his wife, Karen, served in the Peace Corps and have modeled a faith-driven simplicity and sustainability in how they live their lives. Ken has been instrumental in helping create the vision here at First Church Great Falls. His passion, servant leadership and discipleship are helping the entire community look into ways of of reducing our footprint on the Earth and protect the gifts of creation in Big Sky Country.

Phase 2 is slated to begin this summer. You can contact Ken through the First UMC email at churchoffice@umcgreatfalls.org.

See a gallery of photos from the project on Facebook by clicking here.
 


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