Solar panel funding challenge

Unitarian Universalist Society wants to match money for project

JANELLE PATTERSON The Marietta Times Katherine Hawbaker, minister of the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Marietta, sits atop the sanctuary roof where solar panels installed last fall may soon be joined by additional panels to provide electricity to the church’s offices next door.

An anonymous donor has challenged the community to be more environmentally conscious with a promise of a matching grant for solar panels.

“The panels that power our sanctuary have room for a few more,” said Katherine Hawbaker, minister of the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Marietta. “So we’re holding a ‘Just Dinner’ fundraiser with locally sourced, organic and free-trade foods to continue our theme of justice-based action and learn more about being environmentally friendly while raising funds for the panels.”

The dinner will take place Friday at 6 p.m. in the church’s fellowship hall at the corner of Third and Butler streets in Marietta. Tickets in advance cost $15, and cost $20 at the door with all funds raised going to the church’s Solar Match Fund.

Dawn Hewitt, chair of the church’s Green Sanctuary Committee, said the funds raised will be matched up to $10,000 by an anonymous donor to install the additional panels.

“While what we have powers the sanctuary it’s not enough to power the church offices as well so this would meet that need and on a net basis we would generate as much as we use,” she explained.

The project is expectd to be completed before Apr. 22, 2018, at a total cost of $20,000. That amount includes the cost of added and updated weather proofing and insulation for the church.

“It’s a great way for those concerned about the community’s carbon footprint to get involved even if you can’t install on your own home,” said Hawbaker. “Those that are environmentally conscious are welcome to help, and I know others like the city (of Marietta) and (Marietta College) are also looking at ways to be more environmentally conscious.”

The original panels were installed in October 2016 at a cost of $45,000.

For more information contact Dawn Hewitt at

If you go

≤ What: Just Dinner Fundraiser.

≤ When: Friday at 6 p.m.

≤ Where: First Unitarian Universalist Society of Marietta Fellowship Hall at the corner of Third and Putnam streets in Marietta.

≤ Admission: $15 in advance, $20 at the door. All funds will go to the Solar Match Fund.

≤ After dinner a discussion on renewable energy will be open to all in attendance.

≤ Source: Dawn Hewitt, chair of the FUUSM Green Sanctuary Committee.