Nov. 16, 2014

First UCC solar panels
Left to right: Mary Carlson, church moderator, Randy Reister, church vice-moderator, Rev. Abigail Henderson, and Rev. Todd Smith Lippert.


Northfield’s First United Church of Christ (UCC) is reducing its carbon footprint.

Earlier this month, it activated 39 solar panels installed on the roof of its 19th brick church on the corner of Third and Union streets. The panels will prevent the releaseof 30,000 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually, while reducing the congregation’s electricity costs by almost 50 percent.

The congregation will dedicate the solar panels and affirm its commitment to ecological stewardship with a special worship service Sunday, Nov. 23, at 10:30 a.m. Every one is welcome.

The Rev. Todd Smith Lippert said being good stewards of the earth is a central part of First UCC’s ministry.

“This is our congregation’s response to God’s call to care for creation,” Rev. Smith Lippert said. “The science is clear. The dramatic effects of climate change are all around us. We need to pay attention and act.”

UCC purchased the solar panels through the state’s Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program. The panels were manufactured by Bloomington-based TenK and installed by All Energy Solar of Minneapolis. Fifty-eight percent of the project cost is covered by rebates.

The congregation sees these solar panels as a first step toward responsible energy use. It is hopeful it will soon be able to purchase more solar energy through a local community solar project, now in its formative stages.

Rev. Smith Lippert says First UCC is exploring the prospect of becoming a “carbon-neutral facility.” Plans are being formulated to be more energy efficient, to pursue more renewable energy and to employ creative carbon offsets.

First United Church of Christ is a progressive, Christian community of faith and action, committed to theological openness and justice for all creation. It is an “open and affirming” congregation, committed to the inclusion of all of God’s people — all ages, genders, sexual orientations, races, backgrounds, and abilities.

UCC church to dedicate solar panels

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