April 19, 2015
5:24 pm

Funeral Home Adds Solar Array

For the first time in history a rooftop solar array has been affixed to a Midwest funeral home, and it happened here in Michigan's Great Southwest. The Starks & Menchinger Chapel at 2650 Niles Road in St. Joseph Charter Township is now producing energy from the sun thanks to a 52-kilowatt solar array installed early this month.

Tom Starks is co-owner of the funeral home with his father Bob. He says, ,"Renewable energy is obviously tied very closely to environmental awareness. The Starks Family Funeral Homes staff care about the environment and clean energy. We have a passion for funeral service and at the same time we're trying to be as energy efficient as possible. Our goal is to be the greenest."

Starks & Menchinger contracted Solar Winds Power Systems of Shelbyville, Michigan to install 208 photovoltaic solar panels to create the 52kw system. Solar Winds crews install residential, commercial and industrial solar arrays across the region.

On April 3, 2014, Tom Starks and his staff began producing their own energy and they have installed a monitor in the lobby of the funeral home where visitors can see the amount of solar energy being produced on site.

Mike Linsea is with Solar Winds Power Systems. He tells us, "Starks' green energy efforts demonstrate how they are paving the way to advance next-generation clean technology and sustainable energy." He adds, "The solar project at their facility serves as a model to integrate renewable energy projects into operations for organizations around the country."

Linsea says the the new solar energy system at the chapel will help off-set the electrical power load for the funeral home. He says, "We used American Made Solar Panels, SolarWorld with American made SMA inverter components for the installation, such as combiner boxes and inverters." He went on to say, "This array is sized to create over 50% of the current electrical use for the funeral home. In the summer it will produce more than used and in winter use the credits from the overproduction."

The Starks family has served SW Michigan for more than 100 years. As an extension of their dedication to the community, they have focused on providing a reduction in their carbon footprint by supplementing their energy by using solar power.
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People : BobMike LinseaTom Starks