The photovoltaic panels on the flat roofs of North Church’s north and south wings celebrated their first anniversary on May 1. In the first 12 months of operation they put out 27,200 kwh of electricity, 1.7 percent more than predicted by Solar Liberty. At the current price we are paying of 12.4 cents per kwh this is $3,430.58 worth of electricity. Our lease is $100 per month, but in fact we have paid nothing, thanks to Solar Liberty’s generosity and our good work in referring other customers.
The clean energy we produced replaces electricity from coal or gas or nuclear power plants, each of which creates its own threats to human health. We are probably most familiar with the dangerous emissions related to coal: sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides that produce ozone, particulate matter, and mercury. Our solar panels help us to act as good neighbors by contributing to public health.
In terms of carbon dioxide emitted, the 27,200 kwh of clean power that NPC’s roof panels generated is the approximate equivalent of taking three cars off the road for the year. CO2 is one of the greenhouse gases that contribute to global climate change. In May, NOAA announced that the 400 ppm bench mark had been surpassed, the highest level of atmospheric CO2 in 5 million years. We still have a lot of work to do if we are to reverse this trend.