Quakers Hill solar project builds community partnerships

Quakers Hill solar project builds community partnerships

On Tuesday 13 April, Quakers Hill Uniting Church celebrated their recent success in placing a solar system on their church’s roof.

Local State MP Kevin Conolly celebrated with members of the congregation, the working group, and representatives of Presbytery and the Noah’s Ark Preschool who helped get the project realised. Mr Conolly said that project was not just an addition to the building, but instrumental in building partnerships in the local area.

Rev. Grant Atkins is the minister at Quakers Hill Uniting Church. “We are excited at Quakers Hill Uniting Church to be able to not only save financially from our solar panels but also to take steps in caring for our environment,” Rev. Atkins said.

“Using the power of the sun is a way of being good stewards of God’s creation. We stand proudly within the strong ethos of our Uniting Church in making steps to help our climate.”

Vanessa Strickland is the Noah’s Ark Preschool Director. She said that the children were excited to learn and explore the topic of solar panels, saying that many of them came from family homes with panels on their roof.

“It is a great way to teach the young about looking after our planet,” Ms Strickland said.

The project initially started with an email to a small group using the Quakers Hill Uniting Church complex about the NSW government Community Building Partnership Grant 2020 being open for submissions in April 2020.

A small working party met regularly via Zoom and worked to get quotes, meet suppliers onsite, approach relevant agencies for support letters, write applications, and submit a proposal to Presbytery and Synod. Quakers Hill Uniting Church gained $ 23,000 towards the solar panels, with the Preschool and Church later adding another contribution of almost $10,000. This, the congregation says, was the result of a partnership between the local church, the preschool, and government.

Quakers Hill Uniting Church expects the panels to generate 30 kw per hour, (or around 150kw per day) saving $11,055 per year off electricity costs, removing 34 tons of CO2 per year—the equivalent of taking 1,045,498 car km off the road. Over the system’s lifetime this will be the equivalent of planting 6,721 trees or avoiding 748 long haul flights.

From here, Quakers Hill aims to get funding for a water tank for the church and to continue teaching the preschool children about the environment.

Quakers Hill Uniting Church are looking to share their experience with other congregations that are looking at similar projects. Any interested congregations can contact Merryn Anderson here with their questions.

The current round of NSW Community Building Partnerships is now open and closes on 14 May. The approval process required by Presbytery and Synod can take two to three weeks to complete.

Visit the NSW Community Building Partnerships website here.

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