A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Infinite Light Solar Farm of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas took place on August 27, 2016. Mendocino County Chief Executive Officer Carmel J. Angelo and Mendocino County Supervisor of the 1st District Carre Brown both came for the ceremony as well as neighbors of CTTB. A total close to 40 people attended the ceremony.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony started with the chanting of Guan Shr Yin Bodhisattva’s name. Carmel Angelo was invited to speak first. She said, “On behalf of Mendocino County and the Board of Supervisors, we wish to congratulate the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas on the completion of the solar array.” She continued, “The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas is a good partner and good neighbor making this a better county.”
Supervisor Carre Brown pointed out that projects such as this are changing and improving our Country’s energy infrastructure for the good of all who live on this earth. She also said, “Today’s dedication of your solar farm is very important locally leading toward a more sustainable energy system for your community…It is a long term commitment to make for your energy use but this investment will provide a valuable benefit for your future—a great cost savings for your electrical use.”
Dharma Master Jin Yan represented Tathagata Monastery to give a talk. He came from a small coastal city in China and used to see in 1980s in his hometown clear blue skies, clean air and water. Just three decades later, he can no longer see the clean environment in his hometown. He wished that Ukiah can always have a beautiful blue sky and clean air. The way to achieve this goal is to live green, be frugal with resources, and switch to renewable energy, such as solar energy. He said, “As we are cleaning up the external environment, we also want to do the internal cleanup which is the ultimate source of all the troubles we have seen in the world. Then, not only shall we truly see the Pure Land, but also testify to the infinite light of the Buddha, and the infinite light from our own bodies.”
Dharma Master Heng Chih, the most senior Bhikshuni in Dharma Realm Buddhist Association, represented Joyous Giving House. She chanted the 371th line of Shurangama Mantra shi fo la shi fo la a few times and invited all people on site to join her. She explained that the function of the mantra syllables shi fo la shi fo la is to emit light. She quoted the verse written by Venerable Master Hua for this line of the mantra:
The Buddha Jewel emits limitless all-encompassing light.
That light shines on the treasury of empty space in the Dharma Realm.
Truth can be opened up, be revealed, be awakened, and be entered by us, using proper knowledge and views.
Each of us can reach the unsurpassed Bodhi of those ultimately awakened.
She trusted that the power of these syllables will contribute to the efficiency and efficacy of this solar process.
This project is a 500kW solar photovoltaic system, currently ranking number two in Mendocino County, after the one at Mendocino College. It is expected to eliminate 14,000 tons of carbon emissions from the environment during the 25 years of the manufacturer’s warranty. The growth in population and electricity rates increasing 6% every year over the last decade made the increasing costs of energy a growing concern for the CTTB utilities group. Now that CTTB is using solar energy, it will also save several million US dollars in the cost of electricity over the lifetime of the solar farm.
Three companies involving in this solar project all had their representatives on-site for this ceremony. One of the company representatives took pride in the fact that materials used in this system, from solar panels to frames, are all “made in USA.”
Dharma Master Jin Yan, Jin Fan, Heng Chih, Heng Liang, honored guests Carmel Angelo, and Carre Brown cut the ribbon together. And then, all people on site chanted in harmony and beautifully the English version of the Transference of Merit and Virtue Verse to conclude the ceremony.
Amy Chang-chien, coordinator of this solar project, pointed out that traditional solar system has a centralized inverter to change direct current to alternating current. When the inverter is broken, the whole system will stop working until it is fixed. Each solar panel of the Infinite Light Solar Farm at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas has its microinverter. If a microinverter is broken, one can just replace the damaged microinverter. The whole system will keep working without interruption. This will make the maintenance of the solar array easier and more cost efficient.