New Jersey Friaries Install Solar Panels

Jocelyn Thomas Around the Province

Two of Holy Name’s friaries in New Jersey have recently begun using solar-generated electricity to save money and help the environment.

The solar-panel system at Holy Name Friary in Ringwood has been operating since January, according to Francis Soucy, OFM, guardian.

The system — producing 49 KW of electrical energy — will reduce the building’s electrical bill by roughly 20 percent, which without the system averages $6,000 monthly, according to Francis.

In addition to the savings, Francis said the system has benefited Mother Earth and it hasprovided a project for the local group home. Residents of Green Residential Center have tracked the system’s development and energy production from the time of installation and will continue to monitor it through its operaton, said Francis.

“Since we are the first solar energy producers in town and the first nursing facility in the state using this equipment, we have received a gold star from all who want to protect the environment,” he added. “Perhaps leadership through example will encourage others to follow suit.”

The friary in Margate on the Jersey Shore, shown above, also has a new system on its roof that provided a substantial rebate from the state of New Jersey. In four months, the system saved $1,000 on the electric bill, saidDennis Wilson, OFM, Provincial treasurer. It also prevented 77,000 pounds of carbon from being put into the atmosphere. The system has two inverters that put unused energy into the electric grid in nearby Atlantic City, N.J.

The meters and inverters record the amount of energy being used, Dennis said. “Because of that, a monetary credit is sent back to the house (friary).”

Both systems are “working as promised,” he added.

Several other Provincial buildings are also equipped with solar panels, including the Father Michael J. Carnevale Faith Formation Center at St. Mary’s Parish in Pompton Lakes, N.J., which was featured in a recent issue of The Beacon newspaper.

— Jocelyn Thomas, the Province’s director of communications, said a follow-up article detailing the benefits of solar panel systems will appear in a future issue of this newsletter.