August 8, 2019 / Source: Kevin Sasson
The week of September 9 – 15, volunteers from all over Cincinnati will be serving to equip New Prospect Baptist Church in Roselawn with a solar power system. The complete system was donated by Milford-based Melink Corporation, who is expanding their campus by constructing a new zero- energy office building on the ground the solar photovoltaic (PV) array once occupied for 10 years. Since the Melink headquarters is a cutting-edge model for sustainability, Steve Melink, Founder and CEO, wanted to ensure the solar PV system went to good use after it was taken down.
Melink collaborated with SonLight Power, a non-profit organization that equips people living in energy poverty with sustainable energy through solar power. While SonLight Power has traditionally focused on the critical needs of people in developing countries, they are excited to bring their mission field closer to home.
Kevin Sasson, Executive Director of Fairfield-based SonLight Power, helped coordinate the project details with Pastor Damon Lynch III of New Prospect Baptist Church. With help from Melink, SonLight Power designed the electrical system and installation procedures to ensure the best results from the project.
This project is pulling together solar power and sustainability experts from all over the city in an unprecedented way. Mark Fisher, SonLight Power board leader, has volunteered his expertise to help lay the groundwork for the solar PV system at New Prospect Baptist Church. Mark is familiar with the details of installing a system locally – through his role as Vice President of Facilities, Planning & Sustainability at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens, Mark led the Zoo’s high-profile solar power project that also serves as a canopy over the Zoo’s main parking lot on Vine Street.
Other local organizations have rallied to contribute in-kind or deeply discounted services to the project:
• RBI Solar – Design expertise and solar racking equipment
• B&J Electric – Electrical expertise to connect solar PV with New Prospect’s electrical infrastructure
• Crete Busters – Excavation and backfill services for running electrical wire underground
• Reds Community Fund – Additional funding for installation expenses as an extension to the Roselawn Renovation / Community Makeover project on the New Prospect campus
New Prospect was established in 1919 and is a pillar of the Roselawn community. Located in the former Jewish Community Center building, New Prospect strives to be an essential element of the community— “the village well.” The expansive campus provides plenty of space for educational and experiential engagement, soon to include solar power.
The church places an emphasis on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) to help area youth learn applicable skills. Pastor Lynch is an advocate of hands-on learning and believes that engaging the youth of the community will help them develop valuable technical skills. The solar PV system will serve as a showcase and empower the church to teach interested community members about solar technology and its applications. As more and more organizations turn to solar power and sustainable practices, these skills will become increasingly valuable.
The project provides New Prospect Baptist Church another way to engage the Roselawn community. Having access to a solar PV system on its campus will allow New Prospect to help the youth of its congregation and community foster interest in and build applicable skills in STEAM areas.
Pastor Lynch of New Prospect stated, “It is tremendous to see our Greater Cincinnati community come together and equip our church community with solar power. As sustainable energy continues to grow as an economic driver, having an on-site solar PV system to teach job skills is outstanding. We are grateful to Melink Corporation and SonLight Power for donating the complete system and coordinating the installation of it. We are thankful for the volunteers for setting up the system, and to SonLight Power for providing the training to maintain the system.”
Kevin Sasson, Executive Director of SonLight Power, agreed, “We are excited to bring our mission closer to home. New Prospect is the perfect local installation site because they are already set-up to use the system to provide relevant electrical, engineering and renewable energy skills to those in or ready to join the workforce. We can’t wait to see the impact God has in store for this solar PV system, and we look forward to identifying and completing more projects together.”
Steve Melink, Founder and CEO of Melink, added, “We are very fortunate to be able to give back in this way. Mainstreaming solar power as a clean energy solution is part of our mission. And churches and schools, as well as businesses, have a role to play in helping mitigate the long-term costs and risks of climate change. The more we can turn this global problem into an economic opportunity for traditionally under-served communities, the better.”
We invite members of the media to join us at the project site on Saturday, September 14th as we finish installing the solar PV system. The system will be commissioned in a public ceremony after the noon church service on Sunday, September 15th. New Prospect Baptist is located at 1580 Summit Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45237. A combination of Pastor Damon Lynch III, Steve Melink, Mark Fisher and Kevin Sasson will be on-site and would love to speak to the opportunities this project will create or the increasing relevance of solar locally and in mission-related work.
About SonLight Power
SonLight Power uses solar power to share God's love with the world's most vulnerable children, families and communities. It is our vision to be a life-changing organization, transforming lives through the sustainable power of the sun and the Son.
Working together enriches all of us. Solving the issues of energy poverty affecting nearly 1.4 billion people worldwide requires a movement of people on a grand scale. We invite everyone, no matter who you are, what you do, and whatever you believe, to join us in eliminating energy poverty in the world.
Since its founding in 2002, SonLight Power has provided sustainable power to communities in 19 countries, with focus on Honduras, Haiti and Puerto Rico. Through its Solar School training programs in the United States and Haiti, the organization has also equipped hundreds of other passionate volunteers to shine their light by designing and providing solar power systems.