Community members come together for solar "barn raising”

About 340 solar panels were placed on the roof of Eastern Mennonite School in Harrisonburg
Volunteers helped install hundreds of solar panels on the school's roof Saturday.
Published: Oct. 10, 2020 at 7:37 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -On top of Eastern Mennonite School in Harrisonburg, volunteers were hard at work putting down about 340 solar panels.

“It’s inspiring to see so many people come out on kind of a gray, drizzly, day,” President of Secure Futures, Tony Smith said. Secure Futures partnered with the school on the solar panel project.

After over a year of planning, the project came to fruition with the help of about 45 volunteers in a solar “barn raising.”

“Historically the Anabaptist people, often if there was a community disaster, would put hands together and raise a barn." Paul Leaman, Head of School at Eastern Mennonite School, said. “So we’re calling this a solar barn raising, simply because we’re not building a barn but it is putting these 340-50 solar panels on our roof in one day through community effort,” Leaman said.

Leaman said he hopes students, like Rahel Lema, a senior at EMS, see the importance of renewable energy.

“I think it’s really important, for the environment, to do what we can in order to do the most safe thing. And renewable energy is a great way to do that, to use the sun to our advantage. So, I just really like that we are taking the initiative to do so,”Lema, said.

Those participating hope to encourage others in the community to get involved with solar energy.

“Part of this is to show that it can be not only a community perspective of installing solar panels, but also just to maybe to demystify some of it,” Andy Hershberger with Got Electric, said.

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