LANCASTER, Pa. — On January 3, Eastern Mennonite Missions (EMM) flipped the switch to begin generating enough solar energy to meet half of the electrical demands of its Hub 450 property.
“We are delighted to be able to initiate this renewable energy resource as part of our renovations on this historic building,” said EMM Chief Operating Officer Joe Hollinger.
Hub 450 is the name of the building located at 450 North Prince Street, Lancaster, Pa., owned by EMM. The building is permanently occupied by EMM’s Central Administrative Office staff, LMC office staff, and the local, cross-cultural ministries of the Hub 450 hospitality center.
Cumulatively, EMM anticipates this solar array to generate 73,800 kWh of electricity each year — which will eliminate 25.6 tons of greenhouse gases from being emitted into the atmosphere each year.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimated that an average Pennsylvania house uses 846 kWh of electricity per month, according to 2020 figures. This solar array is expected, on average, to generate the monthly equivalent of seven households’ electric consumption — or 6,150 kWh.
Designed by Dennis Kready of MVE Group, the solar array utilizes 150 Talesun 410 W modules for a total of 61.5 kW of power. MVE Group is based in Ephrata, Pa., founded in 1973 as an electrical contracting firm. In 2009, the group created MVE Solar, which designs and installs commercial and industrial photovoltaic systems ranging from 25 kW to 10MW.
This system is financed by an investment relationship, in which a private entity will own the solar array for 6 years. During this time period, the energy supplied through the panels will be sold to EMM at a predetermined price. At the end of the term, the owner of the system will sell it to EMM at fair market value.
In addition to this solar array, Hub 450’s sustainable energy efforts also include the extensive use of LED lighting throughout the building. Additionally, when the building was renovated in 2020, a new roof was installed with 8 inches of fiberglass insulation and a reflective, white rubber top layer.
Sustainability was paramount to EMM’s design of Hub 450 from the beginning — one of the reasons that the decision was made to renovate a historic property instead of building a new structure. The oldest part of the Hub 450 building was erected in 1923 and has seen several tenants, including car dealerships, a printer, and a furniture store.
During the renovation process, EMM was able to recycle several hundred ceiling tiles, 36,000 lbs. of light iron, 500 lbs. of copper pipe, 2,000 lbs. of copper wire. Many of the cabinets and doors were also donated to Habitat ReStore.