Culver City Observer -

Solar Panels Installed At Grace Lutheran


September 30, 2009

Solar panels were installed at Grace Lutheran Church in Culver City Tuesday September 29 2009.

Pastor James (Jim) S. Maines was on hand, as was longtime church member Ken Smith, who inspired the church to go solar after having panels installed on his own Culver City home.

Grace Lutheran has long been green. Pastor Jim drives a hybrid, the church recycles everything from soda cans to ink cartridges, and car pooling is encouraged. Answering its electricity needs with a 20-kilowatt solar installation, to be placed atop its parish hall, was a natural next step. It was easy, financially, because the church paid no upfront costs under a Power Purchase Agreement, which is something like a monthly lease for businesses.

“The utilities continue to have hefty rate increases, but as the rates go up, ours should stay pretty even,” says Maines. “But we mainly did this for environmental reasons. We hope it encourages other churches to go the same route.”

The solar array is being installed, monitored and maintained by SolarCity, one of the nation’s leading solar companies, which has its LA headquarters just up the street from Grace Lutheran at 10451 Jefferson. Jim Cahill, SolarCity’s regional operating director, was at Tuesday’s installation..

Smith powers his house with clean, renewable energy under SolarCity’s residential lease program, which allows homeowners to go solar for less than they pay for electricity. He pays about $50 each month for his electricity—half of what he used to for his three-bedroom home.


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