Unitarian Universalist Church hosting forum on solar power

CHOCOLAY TOWNSHIP¬†— Now that U.P. residents will be footing the bill for the Presque Isle Power Plant, many people are looking to other sources, such as solar power, for their energy needs.

If you’re thinking about going solar, but don’t know much about it, the Unitarian Universalist Church in Chocolay Township has you covered. They are hosting a forum tomorrow morning that will address what solar power is, how it works, and the many benefits associated with it.

The church recently received an Earth Keepers grant and plan to use part of it to install their own solar panels.

“We’ll no longer have the expense to the church of our electricity,” Marquette Unitarian Universalist congregation president Sarah Redmond said. “Instead, it will be a capital investment that will earn us money on the income side, or subtract it from the expense side.”

“What they’re going to do here is they’re going to accumulate most of their energy in the summertime, because we have such long days here,” Steve Waller, the forum’s keynote speaker and a 30-year veteran of solar power, said. “That’s going to, basically, run their meter backwards and they’re going to be accumulating credits as a result of that, which they can then use either at night when there is no sun, or in the wintertime when there is less sun.”

They’ve already used part of the grant to install an on demand water heater and plan on changing out their fluorescent lights with LED bulbs.

Another aspect of solar power that will be touched on regards maintenance.

“That’s the beauty of solar vs. some other energy sources,” Waller said. “Once you install it you can pretty much forget about it. It just sits there and works. As an example, Negaunee High School has solar panels on the roof and a lot of people have forgotten about that; they’ve forgotten about it because they’re working, there’s just power coming out. It’s just that simple. You turn them on, and you walk away, and you can pretty much forget about them.”

The forum runs from 10 a.m. to noon tomorrow at the Unitarian Universalist Church on M-28 in Chocolay Township.