Originally published on Eden Keeper
by Aisha Abdelhamid
Faith members considering solar power for churches, temples, mosques, and other houses of worship are discovering that installations are getting both easier and cheaper. Since 2009, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), costs for non-residential solar installations have dropped around 73%, from around $7.50 per kilowatt to today’s cost of about $2 per kilowatt.
Conversations On Solar Power For Churches Are Trending
In Minnesota, for example, approximately 400 congregations are working with Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light (MNIPL), a faith-based nationwide nonprofit concerned with climate change and environmental stewardship. MNIPL Executive Director Julia Nerbonne notes that conversations on solar power for churches are trending all across the state.
Among the 20 Minnesota houses of worship that completed their transition to solar power in 2016 are Unity Church-Unitarian and Woodbury Peaceful Grove United Methodist Church in St. Paul. In Roseville, St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church also completed it’s solar rooftop installation last year.
While the church spent around 2 years to complete researching and installing its solar system, securing $119,000 in funding for St. Christopher’s solar project was facilitated by federal and state programs. Joel Norton, a member of St. Christopher’s Green Team, says that the church worked with a local solar installer, applied for a federal tax rebate program, and took advantage of the Made in Minnesota solar incentive program.
Norton reports, “After the financial arrangements were in place and engineers inspected the church roof to ensure it could hold the extra weight, the panels were activated in April.” St. Christopher’s Green Team states that “more than 17,000 kWh have been produced so far, saving 35 tons of CO2. We are also significantly reducing our monthly electric bill.”
St. Christopher’s team designed the solar panel installation to leave the shape of a cross exposed on the church’s roof. Norton explains that it’s in the hands of the faithful “to preserve God’s creations.”
Reverend Glenn Berg-Moberg, senior pastor at St. Anthony Park Lutheran, agrees. He says, “The fat truth is there has been, and still is, a big portion of the church that thinks of the Earth as something given to us to use up, and that’s not a good representation of what a biblical view of the world should be.”
“The biblical view,” says Rev. Glenn, “is the world doesn’t belong to us; it belongs to God, and we are the caretakers.”