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Lutheran Church of the Cross installs solar panels

Lutheran Church of the Cross hosted more than 40 church goers and residents at its Nisswa location Wednesday, May 4, to talk about the recently purchased solar panels installed on the northern side of church property near its community garden.

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Lutheran Church of the Cross hosted more than 40 church goers and residents at its Nisswa location Wednesday, May 4, to talk about the recently purchased solar panels installed on the northern side of church property near its community garden.

Roger Garton, technical director of the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL) of Backus, outlined the benefits of solar panels to the crowd, saying the panels typically pay for themselves in roughly seven years.

However, church project officials say, since more than 75 percent of the project's $38,000 cost came from grants and donations, the panels should pay for themselves in three to four years.

Church members say the project was five years in the making. It was done in an effort to create a more sustainable environment within the church, as well as reduce the church's reliance on nonrenewable energy and decrease bills.

Questions arose regarding the panels' durability, given the unpredictable weather in the lakes area. Garton informed the crowd that there is "very little to break" on the panels, due to the steel frame and minimal number of moving parts. The glass covering the panels can withstand the impact of most storms. Also, it should shed most of the snow that will fall on it after two or three days of good sun.

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"We have seen them go through hailstorms, and we have seen them go through windstorms," Garton said. "They have been struck by large tree branches and things like that. They are going to withstand it just fine."

Dan Determan has been a reporter for the Echo Journal since 2014, primarily covering sports at Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus
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