Solar Installation at Friends Meeting of Austin

Friends Meeting of Austin has partnered with Austin Energy, Austin's city-owned electric utility, to install a 20 kW solar photovoltaic system on several of our buildings. The renewable energy rebate program paid approximately one half of our installation cost* Solar photovoltaic systems are easy to maintain (no moving parts) and are configured to send energy back out to the community power grid when the energy is not needed on site resulting in lower energy bills for the Meeting and reduced need for additional fossil fuel generated power plants. This system is the equivalent of planting 1,000 trees in helping reduce greenhouse gases.

Aerial View of Solar Installation at Friends Meeting of Austin

Aerial view of all three systems installed at Friends Meeting of Austin, January 2008. The large triangular system is on the Meeting House proper. To the left is the system over the library extension and in the foreground is the Annex(Garden House) system.
Click on photo to see larger image.

Friends' interest in renewable energy is based in our spiritual leadings and testimonies. George Fox called us to "walk gently over the earth" and John Woolman, Quaker abolitionist, admonished us to ask "whether the seeds of war have any nourishment" in our possessions and in our activities. The testimony to simplicity leads us to focus on needs rather than wants and to reduce, reuse and recycle rather than succumbing to society's push to acquire ever more possessions as we strive to "Live simply so that others may simply live." More information about Friends' leadings regarding our relationship to the earth and all its inhabitants can be found at the Quaker Earthcare Witness website.

We have included on this page the technical specifications for the components of the solar photovoltaic system as installed on the three south-facing roofs on our major buildings. Since each of these roofs is pitched at a different angle, we are getting even higher than predicted energy output as each subsystem performs at peak efficiency at different times and seasons.