As the sun crept up and over the Wasatch Front early Tuesday morning, its rays not only fell on a new LDS Church meetinghouse in Farmington but also powered it.
Featuring 158 panels mounted over about a third of the area of the soon-to-be-opened stake center's south roof, the solar power system is one of several innovative uses of energy-efficient technology in its construction processes and utility operations being tested by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Helping to unveil the first-ever solar powered LDS meetinghouse in North America to the media were two members of the church's Presiding Bishopric — Presiding Bishop H. David Burton and Bishop Richard C. Edgley, first counselor.
Solar power was installed in 2007 at a new meetinghouse in Tamotu, Tahiti.
Estimates suggest the solar panel systems should generate enough electricity to power the structure, resulting in a projected annual energy savings of $6,000.
"Today, the solar panels are the story, aren't they?" said Bishop Burton, listing the environmentally friendly contributions of other building elements, ranging from high-efficiency heating and cooling systems to landscaping designs and building layout.
Four other buildings following the prototype design are being constructed, including a second Utah meetinghouse in Eagle Mountain. The others are located in the Southwest — in Apache Junction, Ariz.; Logandale, Nev.; and Pahrump, Nev.
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