Sun Worshipping Takes On New Meaning at Anaheim Church

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There's no denying that at least one church in Anaheim is getting help from above.

About 40 people turned out for Thursday's high noon dedication of a roof-mounted solar power system at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Anaheim, which followers believe to be the first place of worship in the history of Anaheim to go solar.

Speaking at the dedication ceremony, Sheri Loveland, co-chairwoman of the Interfaith Coalition on the Environment, went farther, saying she believes the church at 511 S. Harbor Boulevard is the first church in Orange County to so boldly harness the sun for its energy needs. Loveland hoped it will inspire other congregations to follow the Unitarian Universalist Church's example.

Also helping to mark the momentous occasion alongside members of the 50-year-old congregation were officials from Anaheim's Planning Commission, Public Utilities Department and Vaha Solar, the company that installed the system.

A representative from the office of State Sen. Lou Correa (D-Anaheim) presented the church a certificate, a rep for Anaheim City Councilwoman Lucille Kring said a commendation from the city may be coming and the local Sierra Club chapter presented the church an award.

"We had people from other churches who were very much interested in this issue as well," said church member Duane Roberts, who distributed word of the dedication far and wide.

Church members unanimously voted in May to install the system, whose photo-voltaic panels on the rooftop of church buildings have already been connected to the electrical grid and will provide up to 4,000 watts of power during the summer. A rebate from Anaheim Public Utilities reduced the cost by a third, and members donated additional funds to increase the power output by another kilowatt.

"This kind of system is in line with our spiritual beliefs," UUCA Minister Lee Marie Sanchez said before the dedication. "Unitarian Universalist principles include concern for the environment and the 'interdependent web of life' here on this planet. This system will help reduce fossil fuel use."

It is believed the church will save about $150 per month in electrical bills, savings that should have the total cost of the system paid for within nine years.
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