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MCC Going Solar!

Bringing the Power of the Sun to MCC

2016 Solar Project Background and Information

– Katherine Vater


A Brief History of Solar Power

Mankind relies upon the sun’s energy to fuel life on earth.  The sun can cause a sunburn, bake cookies on our car dashboards on a hot day, and burn holes in paper when rays are focused through glass and mirrors.

In 1839, a French physicist discovered photons from the sun release electrons in certain materials, allowing for generation of electricity from solar light (NASA, 2011, science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2002/solarcells).  It was not until the early 2000s that the cost of the panels decreased due to global tax-incentives and increased demand, and solar power became a prominent energy source.  Currently, Germany is the world’s leading producer of solar energy, and produces more than twice the amount of the United States (Tech Insider, March 15, 2016).


Bringing Solar Power to MCC

In December 2015, the Board of Finance was approached by members of the congregation wishing to give a designated gift to the church for the installation of a solar panel system.  In early 2016, as project coordinator, I reached out to contractors and met with church leaders.  In April 2016, the Board of Finance and the Church Council accepted a proposal from Midwest Solar Power, LLC to install our solar panel system for $43,745.  The project was funded by the sponsoring donor ($37,210), a Focus on Energy grant ($2,400), and individual donations from nine additional congregants (donations of $100 to $1,000 for a total of $4,135).


Our Solar Panel System

Our solar panel system is installed on the south-facing education wing roof.  The sixty-two (62) panels are a 20 kW (AC) array.  In the utility room, there are two inverters that convert the DC power into AC power.  The system will generate about 60% of our annual electrical usage. We will continue to purchase the balance of our electricity from Alliant Energy.  We anticipate a savings of about $2,200 per year in electrical costs (depending on actual usage and production, and the utility’s rate structure).  The inverters for our system allow us to track our power generation in real-time, as well as review our historic power generation.


A solar power system has very few mechanical parts, so requires little maintenance from year to year.  Our system is under warranty for 25 years.  After warranty some of the equipment may need to be replaced, but the solar panels themselves are expected to have a lifespan of 35-50 years. 


Learn More!

There are lots of great resources for learning about solar power and renewable energy at the library. 


If you’re interested in learning more about our system, feel free to contact me at katherine.vater@gmail.com.  I can:

  • Give you a tour of the equipment and describe the system in more detail. 
  • Provide you more detailed information for a class project, science fair display, or other setting.
  • Add your email to the website, that will allow you to track our system’s power generation in real-time.


We are planning for more outreach in the fall, and occasionally in the future, to update the congregation on the system production and our church’s overall energy use.  If you have ideas about what information would be of interest and how to communicate it, please let me know.


Thank you to all the donors for making this project a reality!

Weekly Schedule

Sunday Worship 9:30am

Is Church Canceled?

Sunday School 9:45am

Sunday Coffee & Cookies Fellowship 10:30am

Church Office Hours:

Monday-Thursday 8:00am-Noon


Check our calendar or our newsletter Congregation Votes to Sell Land

See our 2017 Annual Report

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Service Times & Directions

Weekend Masses in English

Saturday Morning: 8:00 am

Saturday Vigil: 4:30 pm

Sunday: 7:30 am, 9:00 am, 10:45 am,
12:30 pm, 5:30 pm

Weekend Masses In Español

Saturday Vigil: 6:15pm

Sunday: 9:00am, 7:15pm

Weekday Morning Masses

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday: 8:30 am

6654 Main Street
Wonderland, AK 45202
(513) 555-7856