Stepping Into A Sustainable Future: How Wellman Shew Led The Solar Power Charge At Clovis Hills Community Church
As the solar panel project leader for Clovis Hills Community Church, Wellman Shew is passionate about how solar power can benefit the planet and the economy. Here, Shew explains how he made solar power a reality for the CHCC.
Solar Power At CHCC
Wellman Shew didn’t just lead the solar panel project at CHCC—he managed to do it in a way that never interrupted the church’s operations. The CHCC campus now has one of the largest solar panel installations in the United States. The project has served as an example to the surrounding community of how economic, sustainable, and convenient the solar panel installation process can be.
The large-scale project required Wellman Shew to work closely with Barrier Solar Power Systems to determine logistics. At the start of the project, Barrier and Shew believed that a roof-mounted installation would be the best fit for the power needs of the church. As they delved into how the Church was planning to use its campus in the future, Shew and Barrier decided to pivot to a ground-mounted installation of solar panels instead.
The solar panel project at Clovis Hills Community Church was a massive success. Today, the Church uses the energy harnessed by its solar panels for nearly all of its electrical energy needs. Energy bills for the campus stay near $0 year-round, despite sky-high temperatures in the Clovis area. Church members are proud that their solar panel project allowed them to contribute to the health of the Earth while also contributing to the financial future of their church.
Wellman Shew Explains How Solar Power Works
Most people have seen large solar panels on home roofs but are unsure how solar power actually works. The sun produces an incredible amount of energy. According to the United States Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, “The amount of sunlight that strikes the earth’s surface in an hour and a half is enough to handle the entire world’s energy consumption for a full year.”
Solar panels harness the sun’s radiation and convert it into useable energy. All areas of the Earth receive sun at specific points of the year. Solar panels use a type of technology called photovoltaics, or PVs, to convert the sun’s energy into electricity. When the sun hits a solar panel, the radiation energy is absorbed by PV cells. An electrical field inside the cell interacts with the energy captured by the PV cells. This interaction allows useable electricity to flow through the solar panel.
While there is a cost associated with installing solar panels, many businesses, organizations, and homeowners find that they recoup their initial investment over a reasonably short period due to savings on electrical bills.