Solar panels are being installed at the First Church in Oberlin after an unexpected delay from the city’s historic preservation commission.
The $22,500 project needed approval because the Meeting House is on the national and local historical registries, which pastor David Hill said is “a complete misread and overstep by the city.”
Though the church dates back to 1834, the solar panels are being placed on the fellowship hall, a newer portion of the building built in 1968.
After poring over detailed renderings of how the 36 panels would be viewed from the street, the commission voted to approve the plans.
The effort to be sustainable dates back five years ago when parishioners formed a “green team” as part of the church’s philosophy to “minimize our impact on the creation,” said co-chair Gene Matthews.
After spending $5,000 to replace all church lighting with LED bulbs, the church’s electrical consumption dropped 10 to 12 kilowatt hours per year. Other projects included installing thermal windows and wireless electronic thermostats, which reduced energy usage by 2,000 kilowatt hours.
Matthews said he anticipates the solar panels will save 10,000 kilowatt hours per year. He hopes the church will be an example for other buildings around the city.
Laurie Hamame can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @HamameNews on Twitter.