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Solar Panels

Our solar panel system went live in late September 2023 with formal recognition held in October 2023. Drone photo of TBE roof
by Steve Lipton.

Our deeply held belief in tikkun olam (repair of the world) was put into practice with the installation of more than 190 solar panels in fall 2023. The hope of using solar power at TBE began in 2018 as part of a larger capital needs plan and became a reality through generous grant funding from the Goodman Foundation and the donation of 94 panels from Solar for Good.

This exciting, complex project was managed, on a volunteer basis, by longtime TBE member and past president Dan Esser. Throughout each phase, Dan was assisted by facilities manager Steven Gregorius and many TBE volunteers, with guidance from the House Committee.

Installation began in spring 2023 with replacement of the oldest portion of the roof, on the three-story 1996 Goodman Educational Center wing. Solar panels were delivered in August 2023 and installed by Full Spectrum Solar. Extensive electrical work included installation of a new transformer, four new DC-to-AC inverters, and a two-way electrical meter. The setup officially went live with MGE on September 22, 2023, just before Yom Kippur.

The new solar energy initiative was officially recognized during Shabbat worship on Friday, October 13, aligning with the start of the Torah cycle and the reading of B’reishit, the Torah portion describing creation and the giving of light. At a time when more light was needed in all corners of the world, this was a meaningful and poignant milestone for our community.

Quick Facts

  • The large array of solar panels is approximately the number that 10 houses might use and will generate about 32% of Temple Beth El’s annual electricity usage.
  • In the first month of usage the solar panels generated over 7,850 kWh with an energy savings of $1,175 ($.15/kWh).
  • Use of the solar panels was expected to result in initial savings of $12,000 per year, with additional savings envisioned as utility costs rise.
  • Federal and utility-based rebates offered further savings.
  • Each panel measures 45 by 90 inches, weighs 80 pounds, and is rated for 25 years of use.

Photo Gallery

Volunteer project manager and TBE past president Dan Esser (holding ladder) on the TBE roof in July 2023. 

MGE installed the new exterior transformer in July 2023.

Half of a storage closet adjacent to the Swarsensky Social Hall was converted to a new IT room, with a transformer on the floor and a collector panel and four inverters mounted on the wall at right.

Solar panels were delivered in August 2023. 

The solar panels are mounted at a 10-degree angle on aluminum frames, held in place with concrete blocks.


May 27, 2024 19 Iyar 5784